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Jim McCorry is keeping his netminders guessing

By John Campbell

Down manager Jim McCorry is certainly keeping his options open as he seeks a replacement for long-serving goalkeeper Brendan McVeigh, who retired earlier this year.

It had been expected that Michael Cunningham would automatically step into the role but with Stephen Kane and Kieran Gordon having impressed in the recent Down Select v Down All Stars charity game, McCorry could find himself with rather more options at his disposal.

Cunningham has already acquired a ration of senior experience and it's now expected that Kane and Gordon will get the chance to enhance their prospects of regular recognition when Down's Bank of Ireland Dr McKenna Cup campaign gets under way tomorrow.

Down will have home advantage against Cavan in their Section A opener and McCorry will pay particular attention as to how his defence performs.

While the retirement of Benny Coulter has understandably created considerable debate within Down, McVeigh's decision to stand down will also be keenly felt if not quite generating the same level of discussion.

The An Riocht clubman was a fixture in the side for over a decade under different managers, his shot-stopping ability, general athleticism and clever kick-outs making him an invaluable member of the side.

Kane and Gordon know they have a hard act to follow, as does Cunningham.

While manager McCorry concedes that Down have some quality forwards - Conor Laverty, Niall Madine, Donal O'Hare and Conor Maginn head his cast in this respect - he is conscious that extra emphasis will have to be placed on defence.

"We can't afford to be giving away scores," points out McCorry. "We have to be sound at the back."

Belfast Telegraph

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