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Johnston duo back to put an extra spring in Kilcoo title step

By John Campbell

Kilcoo have received the perfect boost as they focus on landing their fifth consecutive Down senior football championship title.

The return of the talented Johnston brothers Ryan and Jerome is viewed as a significant addition to the club's armoury as the spotlight switches to the final against Clonduff early next month.

Kilcoo manager Paul McIver has looked on as his team have glided through the championship to date, but believes that the Johnston duo will afford him additional selection options.

"It's great to have the boys back on board," said McIver. "We had been monitoring their progress carefully following injuries they had picked up earlier in the summer and we were hopeful that they would be available for the concluding stages of the championship if we were fortunate to get that far."

"They both made contributions in our semi-final win over Burren and showed that they have regained their appetite for action."

Jerome scored Kilcoo's fourth goal in that 4-7 to 2-8 win over Burren which has thrust his side into the favourites' role to land the title again.

But McIver is aware that former Down All-Ireland winner Ross Carr will have Clonduff at concert pitch for the decider.

"There is a lot of experience within the Clonduff side and Ross will certainly be trying to get the best out of them," observed McIver. "The Down championship is hugely competitive and, while we have won four titles in recent years, this guarantees us nothing in terms of this forthcoming final."

Clonduff will be backboned by county players Aidan Carr, Darren O'Hagan, Henry Brown and Barry O'Hagan, all of whom were prominent in their semi-final win over Bryansford last Sunday, a match in which they trailed 3-2 to 0-6 at half-time before coming out on top by 1-13 to 3-4.

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