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Hughes' arrival a boost for Pearse Og

By John Campbell

Brendan Hughes, who has served as an Armagh selector for the past two years, has returned to his former role as manager of the Pearse Og club in the Primatial city.

A Derry-based schoolteacher, Hughes helped to hone the careers of a number of Orchard County players and is regarded as a shrewd tactician.

His decision to re-join Pearse Og has been warmly welcomed by chairman Gerry Davidson who believes that the team can become better equipped to challenge the ongoing authority of Crossmaglen Rangers within the county.

It was Hughes who temporarily helped to break the Rangers' dominance by masterminding the 2009 triumph by Pearse Og when they finally lifted the Armagh crown by beating their great city rivals Harps in the final having earlier conquered Rangers at the quarter-final stage.

"Obviously we are pleased to have Brendan back on board," says Davidson.

"He brings a wealth of experience to the managerial role and he has an in-depth knowledge of all aspects of Armagh football."

Louis O'Neill and Denis Hollywood have been in charge of the Pearse Og side for the past two years and Davidson has paid a warm tribute to their endeavours on behalf of the club.

"These two men have made a huge input into the club. Even though their cause was not helped because of the number of injuries we have had of late they never gave anything less than total commitment and we are very grateful to them for that," adds Davidson.

Pearse Og still boast a platoon of experienced players with Paul Duffy, Anto Duffy, Chris Rafferty, Gerard Barton, Darnell Parkinson, Mark Cullen and Sean Moore to the fore while CJ Clarke is emerging as a forward of quality.

Meanwhile, Crossmaglen Rangers' playing resources could be bolstered if Johnny Murtagh and Paul Kernan link up with the side again.

Murtagh has been in the United States lately having previously played his club football with Parnells in Dublin but is understood to be keen to return to his roots while Kernan is expected to return from Australia shortly.

The new Rangers management team of Oisin McConville and John McEntee are making diligent efforts to entice players back to the club and they have also Franny Hanratty in their sights.

Hanratty played in the 2012 All-Ireland final against Westmeath and Leinster champions Garrycastle in which he scored two goals.

McConville explains: "The club had a lot of injury problems and we are now intent on building the strongest possible squad. The door is open to everyone but if we can get players like Johnny Murtagh, Paul Kernan and Franny Hanratty back, all the better."

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