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Down boss McCartan will look to Kilcoo for county side

By John Campbell

Down manager James McCartan is understood to be putting the finishing touches to his Power NI Dr McKenna Cup squad.

While his team may have provided him with food for thought over the course of the O'Fiaich Cup this month, McCartan is likely to select from a rather broader canvas as he ponders the first competition of 2014.

In this respect, his sights will surely be trained on Kilcoo. The club not only won the Down league and championship this year but claimed both prizes in impressive fashion.

McCartan will surely have Paul Greenan, Paul Devlin, Darragh O'Hanlon and Niall McEvoy on his radar as he seeks to bolster his team.

The quartet turned in consistently imperious performances for Kilcoo supplementing their high skill levels with huge stamina and an unrelenting work-rate.

If Down as a unit perhaps did not flourish to the extent that McCartan might have liked in the O'Fiaich Cup, he nonetheless derived a series of positives from the competition.

Peter Fitzpatrick showed that he can bring physique and sharpness to either the half-forward division or midfield, while Danny Savage again laid down a marker that he covets regular recognition in the side and Peter Turley indicated that he is prepared to fulfil any position as required.

A fully-fit Aidan Carr provides McCartan with another option as he awaits confirmation that Danny Hughes will commit for a further year while Liam Doyle's experience might well prove a bonus now that he has made a return to club action after a long lay-off.

Down spokesman Paul Rooney echoes the feeling of county secretary Sean Og McAteer that if injuries can be avoided and a settled team formulated Down could have the capacity to make an impact.

"I think that the introduction of the Kilcoo contingent to the squad would be a big boost. While these players have had a tremendously long season, the fact of the matter is that they reached and maintained peak fitness levels," said Rooney.

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