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Derry star O’Boyle ready for Championship: Cassidy

By John Campbell

Derry manager Damian Cassidy believes he has unearthed a rare gem in Caolan O’Boyle.

Cassidy could hardly wait for O’Boyle to return from duty with UUJ to draft him into his side for the National League. And the manner in which the talented 20-year-old performed against Tyrone at the weekend should now ensure his place in the starting line-up against Dublin on Saturday night in Parnell Park.

There could be even better to come for the versatile O’Boyle, too. Cassidy has already indicated that the player will enjoy “some championship action” and this in itself rubber-stamps his endorsement of O’Boyle’s value to his team.

“I heard he scored four great points against Armagh in the McKenna Cup for UUJ even though he was operating around the midfield and half-back area and that gave me great encouragement,” said Cassidy.

“I got the impression that he was ready for the National League. It is great to have players like him in the side alongside our more experienced brigade.”

O’Boyle found himself positioned in the half-forward line against Tyrone and although he did not score, his long-range shooting ability could underpin Derry’s league campaign.

“I believe that Caolan’s versatility will serve us well, too. He appears comfortable in two or three positions and that’s a bonus,” said Cassidy.

Derry fans are already planning to descend on Parnell Park in large numbers for Saturday night’s game against the Dubs which will afford their side the chance to land back-to-back wins before a three-week break.

“We are not due in action again until the first weekend in March and that will allow players the chance to get a breather,” added Cassidy.

“We will be working on our strategy and our tactics because we have Cork, Galway and Mayo on our radar and they will be anything but easy.”

Meanwhile, Antrim manager Liam Bradley could not be blamed for having mixed feelings as he approaches Saturday’s tie against Cavan.

While Bradley was denied the services of his St Gall’s contingent for last weekend’s opening clash with Sligo, Fermanagh manager Malachy O’Rourke was able to call on goalkeeper Ronan Gallagher and Rory Gallagher from the Ulster Club champions for his team’s visit to Offaly.

The Saffrons overcame Sligo without skipper Colin Brady, Andrew McClean, C J McGourty, Kieran McGourty, Karl Stewart, Aodhan Gallagher and Terry O’Neill all of whom are preparing for St Gall’s All Ireland Club football championship semi-final against Corofin on March 21.

Bradley remains philosophical, though, as he focuses on the side that his team beat in last year’s Ulster championship semi-final.

“The important thing is that we get another win to keep our promotion hopes alive. Cavan were being written off before they beat Roscommon,” said Bradley.

Belfast Telegraph

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