Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 26 October 2014

Sambo relishes double title tilt

Sambo McNaughton finds himself involved in two separate hurling championships in the months ahead.

At the launch of the Ulster championships it was confirmed that the Saffrons would have a bye into the provincial decider.

They also have a big date with Dublin in the Leinster championship, a game that could shape their season.

McNaughton, never afraid to speak his mind, welcomes the onset of another championship, but he is adamant that more must be done at under age level.

“Everything should be geared towards developing the minors or even the Under 14s.

“If properly managed they are the stars of tomorrow and that is the only way of taking sport to a different level.

“But even that’s not enough. Time and even money must be spent on development squads with top coaches in control.

“There’s no quick fix in all of this. It will take time, but in the end the rewards will be great,” he said.

With Antrim already through to an Ulster final, Down — with Gareth Johnson back on board - must fancy their chances of joining them.

Magic Johnson, an equally gifted footballer, has returned from London where he had been working and he also turned out for Derry against Kerry in the Allianz League.

Derry, too, with Brian McGillligan at the helm, will fancy their chances.

Armagh cannot be discounted either, but their recent league form has been discounted.

Hurling in the province badly needs a shot in the arm and with Antrim out of the equation at least until the final, then it should be much more competitive and ultimately that should benefit the sport.

Down appear to be better than equipped than most to make the final.

But that won’t deter the so called lesser lights from making a brave bid to unseat the established order.

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