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Returning trio to keep Kilcoo wedded to title success

By John Campbell

Kilcoo are experiencing a honeymoon period in more ways than one as they become even more focused on landing a fifth consecutive Down Senior Football Championship title.

Three players - Stephen Smith, Niall McEvoy and Niall Branagan - have just returned from foreign parts following their weddings and manager Paul McIver is more than happy to have them on board for tomorrow's quarter-final against Warrenpoint.

"I suppose you could say we are having a honeymoon period in two senses as these three guys missed our earlier Championship action and the fact that we lost to Burren has meant that we have had to pick our steps more carefully," explained McIver.

That Burren defeat followed a win over Saval and Kilcoo subsequently regained their credibility by beating Loughinisland.

McIver will now have a stronger hand from which to choose as Dylan Ward and James McLean are also back in the mix although Paul Greenan is still in Australia while JJ McLoughlin, a doctor, remains unavailable because of work commitments.

Joint captains Aidan Branagan and Conor Lavery are playing a big part in bolstering Kilcoo's spirits as they set their sights on achieving what would be a history-making feat.

In last night's game in the Down championship, Clonduff beat Castlewellan by 2-10 to 0-14.

Their goals were scored by Barry O'Hagan and Rian Brannigan. Castlewellan imploded in the second half when they had three players dismissed, much to the chagrin of their manager, former Down star John Treanor.

Bryansford and Downpatrick served up a dour affair in the first half of their clash. Bryansford led by 1-4 to 0-3 at the halfway stage but they cut loose after the break to win by 4-6 to 2-10.

In the Tyrone Senior Football Championship, Coalisland turned in a strong first-half performance to lead Galbally at the break by 1-7 to 0-4 and built on their lead in the second period to emerge winners by 2-13 to 0-11.

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