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Dynamic duo willing and ready to start for Oak Leafs

By John Campbell

Conor McAtamney and Conor Kearns are in line to clinch starting places in the Derry side that will open their Allianz League Division Two campaign against Fermanagh at Celtic Park on Sunday (2pm).

McAtamney stepped into the midfield breach when Brendan Rogers incurred a serious facial injury in the opening three seconds of the team's Bank of Ireland Dr McKenna Cup final defeat to Tyrone on Saturday night, while Kearns added zest to the attack when he was introduced for Benny Heron in the 50th minute.

McAtamney highlighted one of his best-ever performances in the Derry jersey with a magnificent point from distance and now looks destined to be handed a responsible role on Sunday since Rogers is still recovering from his injury which necessitated 14 stitches.

The lively Kearns, one of several Derry newcomers to step up to the mark in the McKenna Cup, is poised to unleash his talents in the league now that the experienced Enda Lynn is expected to be out for some weeks because of a suspected broken bone in his ankle.

Lynn had been outstanding until he was stretchered off on Saturday night, his pace, vision and finishing skills - he landed three points in all from play - regularly discomfiting the Red Hands defence.

Derry boss Damien Barton took stock of his resources at training last night and is particularly keen to see his side hit the ground running in the league.

Derry spokesman Dermot McPeake said: "Hopefully we will be able to get into our stride early against Fermanagh and that might provide the momentum that could take us to victory."

Belfast Telegraph

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