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McCartan sets his sights on Down success

By John Campbell

Down manager James McCartan, having completed his new-look backroom team, will undertake preliminary work in relation to assembling his 2012 squad over the course of this weekend.

McCartan, who has brought Aidan O'Rourke in as his No 2 and appointed the highly-regarded Amy Davis as strength and conditioning coach to complement selector Jerome Johnston, plans to take in tomorrow's important championship fixtures between Ballyholland and Rostrevor and Bryansford and Kilcoo.

While Ballyholland may hold the whip hand, the latter tie holds particular appeal in that it will see high-profile county players such as Bryansford's powerful midfield ace Kalum King and Kilcoo's Conor Laverty and Aidan Brannigan bring their many-sided talents to the table.

Kilcoo, champions two years ago and a club very much in top gear, are also bolstered by the wily Anthony Devlin in their attack and this could see them come out on top in what should be a titanic tussle.

McCartan is anxious to unearth some fresh talent and a number of players from both teams will now get the chance to impress him.

Meanwhile, Derry boss John Brennan will also be casting his net wide.

Three important matches are down for decision in the county championship tomorrow with holders Coleraine Eoghan Rua taking on Loup while Dungiven will face Ballinascreen and Ballinderry will oppose Bellaghy.

Barry McGoldrick is one of four brothers in the Coleraine side that aims to take a big step towards retaining their title while Eugene Kelly, in his fifth year in charge of Dungiven, will be pitting his tactical skills against former Derry defender Tony Scullion who has revitalised Ballinascreen.

Ballinderry will be without two of their most seasoned players in Enda Muldoon and James Conway when they face a Bellaghy side which will be buoyed by vastly-experienced midfield ace Fergal Doherty who is likely to be alongside Joe Diver.

In the second of the Fermanagh Senior Football Championship semi-finals Roslea meet Devenish at Brewster Park, Enniskillen tomorrow (3.30pm).

In the Antrim Senior Hurling Championship semi-final, St Gall's will be up against it when they take on a strong Cushendall outfit at Loughgiel tomorrow (6.00pm).

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