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McCartan hopes red-hot duo can fire Down all the way to Minor joy

 

By John Campbell

One of the hottest twin strike forces in Ulster football will take a front stage role in Down's bid to edge closer to the provincial minor throne.

Conor McCrickard and Liam Kerr amassed 2-12 of the team's total in the recent 2-13 to 2-11 Ulster quarter-final win over Armagh, and manager James McCartan will now look to their spectacular finishing skills to end Cavan's hopes of glory in Saturday's semi-final at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh (5pm).

Derry manager Damian McErlain, whose side are already through to the July 16 decider, will be a more than interested observer as McCartan's men aim to prove that their Breffni opponents have been miscast as favourites to progress.

From McCartan's perspective, his team's win over Armagh, even if it was tinged with good fortune, proved a timely shot in the arm for football in the Mourne County, but he accepts that McCrickard and Kerr will need to be in top form if Down are to win.

"Where Down are coming from, any Minor Championship win has to be gratefully accepted," said McCartan with typical candour.

In the eclipse of Armagh, McCrickard clinically compiled 2-4, while Kerr chipped in with 0-8 - statistics which will ensure the duo will be ear-marked for close attention from the Cavan defence.

Cavan boss John Brady is likely to stick with the side that beat Monaghan and will look to players such as Patrick Meade and Connor Timoney to restrict the input of McCrickard and Kerr.

Cavan last won the provincial prize in 2011 but Down have to go back to 1999 for their last triumph.

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