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Ulster Club Championship: James McCartan has Burren desire

Down football team boss James McCartan will put through a call from New York tomorrow evening to learn how Burren have fared in their Ulster Club Championship semi-final against Crossmaglen Rangers.

McCartan’s two brothers, Daniel and Eoin, are in the Burren squad for the game and the Mourne manager knows that victory would thrust the side into a strong position for the provincial trophy.

“It’s great to see Burren back on the Ulster club stage again but they face a giant job against Crossmaglen. This will be as much a test of character as anything else for the lads,” says McCartan.

Currently on holiday in the US with his squad, he will begin the task of formulating things for the new season on his return next Wednesday.

Several Burren players will get the chance to further stake their claims for places in McCartan’s 2011 panel tomorrow.

Declan Rooney, Kevin McKernan, Daniel McCartan and Anton McArdle are certain to be retained in the county set-up and they could be joined by some of their club colleagues.

Eamon McGovern, Eamon Toner and Sean Murdock are among those tipped to make their pitch to gain county status.

Burren are presented with a golden opportunity to reach the Ulster final in which they would meet either Naomh Conall or Coalisland and manager Frank Dawson believes they are mentally and physically right for the task.

“The way this side have gained in confidence as they have moved along has been very encouraging. They have the belief and the skill but they know that Crossmaglen, even though they have undergone some changes, are still a very experienced, driven side who invariably reserve their best form for matches such as this,” he says.

Many of the Burren side that claimed All Ireland glory in 1986 and again in 1988 will be at tomorrow’s game including current Armagh manager Paddy O’Rourke who played in those sides before going on to captain Down to All Ireland success in 1991.

O’Rourke saw Crossmaglen Rangers defeat St Gall’s in their quarter-final but even though his

commitment to Armagh has been nothing less than absolute since taking over, he could be forgiven for hoping for a ‘home’ win.

Crossmaglen last night received an unexpected boost when Johnny Hanratty, red-carded in the win over St Galls, won his appeal against the sending-off and is eligible for tomorrow.

Meanwhile Patrick O’Farrell aims to further honour the memory of his late father Martin when he pulls on his Coalisland jersey in their semi-final.

It was during the early 90’s that Martin, in tandem with Peter Herron, proved an inspirational coach with St Patrick’s Academy, Dungannon, helping to sow the seeds of progress that eventually culminated in later years in Tyrone’s success at Minor and U21 levels.

Martin’s untimely death left a huge void in the coaching sphere but now Patrick, a 24-year-old physiotherapist, is displaying the same qualities of industry, integrity and sportsmanship that underpinned his father’s productive involvement in GAA.

Tomorrow Patrick will again be at the heart of a Coalisland defence that faces a big threat from a Naomh Conall attack which includes lethal sharpshooters Leo McCloone and Dermot ‘Brick’ Walsh.

Belfast Telegraph

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