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Antrim boost as Michael McCann eyes a return

By Declan Bogue

Antrim fans will be encouraged by news that one of their best players – Michael McCann – is considering a return to county football next season.

Speaking at the launch of the Gaelic Sports 'Opt for Life' Gaelic gloves last night at Belfast's City Hall, the Cargin clubman revealed that Saffrons manager Frank Dawson had been in touch with some members of the Erin's Own club to extend an olive branch.

McCann's brother Tomás and Tony Scullion were dropped from the panel last year after a disagreement over travel arrangements to their final league game against Monaghan. By that stage, Michael McCann had taken time out after starting up a new business, but that action made a return unlikely.

When asked if a return to Antrim in 2014 was out of the question, McCann replied: "Definitely not. I just have to weigh up what is going on. What my own personal situation is and after that, it's common knowledge that there are a few things going on outside of me as well that we need to look at to see how it pans out with Frank.

"But I would love to be playing with Antrim next year."

On contact from Dawson, he revealed: "He's let us know that we are part of his plans, which is good.

"I think Frank is trying to prepare for the start of October and has let us know that he wants us part of his plans and it is up to us if we want to take that. Not that it will take a lot of thinking, but I haven't had to make a decision because the club is going.

"I would love to be playing for Antrim and hopefully circumstances will let me do that. But I will have to weigh it up and see."

At present, McCann's focus in on the forthcoming Antrim county final, when Cargin will come up against old foes St Gall's. Both teams won through uncompromising, low-scoring semi-finals against Creggan and St Paul's respectively, but McCann does not expect the final to be so tentative.

"It is a final and teams have to go out and win the game. There will be defensive aspects to it, but I don't think it will be like the semi-finals," he said.

Cargin are under the management of McCann's elder brother Eamonn, Martin Logan and former Antrim captain Ciaran O'Neill. They are bidding to land their first title since 2006 and in the process call a halt to St Gall's bid for seven consecutive Championships.

If a team are equipped to beat the Milltown men it appears to be Cargin, but some would suggest there is a mental block when they come against St Gall's.

"Over the past ten or 12 years we have played St Gall's I think maybe four times. Not that many to be honest," explains McCann

"But St Gall's are a great team. Over the last few years when we thought we should and could have been winning Championships, they have gone out and beat us convincingly."

He concludes: "It's going to be hard for us, we have a new team there, a lot of new players coming through and maybe we are a different team this way, but we are a hungrier team than before."

Belfast Telegraph


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