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McCann's return lifts Antrim

By John Campbell

Michael McCann's return to the Antrim fold has given joint managers Frank Fitzsimons and Gearoid Adams another fillip as they step up their efforts to launch a concerted bid to bring the side out of Division Four of the Allianz League.

McCann has rendered magnificent service to Antrim - indeed, he was voted man of the match on several occasions when the Saffrons actually lost games - and his imposing presence will provide a considerable selection boost.

The Cargin man, who stepped down from the squad a year ago, can play at midfield or full-forward and his experience and aerial ability could prove decided assets as Antrim seek to improve their status.

The return of players such as Kevin Niblock, Brian Neeson and of course McCann has been welcomed and the level of camaraderie within the squad is now "better than ever" according to key forward Conor Murray.

"We have a lot of young players coming through and now that we have some of the more experienced men back to bolster what is already there, the picture is looking really encouraging," stated Murray.

"A lot of players are in the 20-23 age bracket and they are just beginning to fulfil their potential. Obviously the hope is that they will progress more next year but the important thing for us is to get out of Division Four.

"Hopefully we will get a good run in the McKenna Cup as well. The spirit within the squad is better than ever. Having Gearoid Adams, who played for Antrim for over 10 years, as joint manager along with Frank Fitzsimons is brilliant."

The commitment and intensity shown by the Antrim players in pre-season training has impressed Murray and leads him to think that an encouraging start to 2016 could pay handsome dividends further along the line.

"No one is in any doubt as to what it will take to get into Division Three but the boys are prepared to make the effort," added Murray, whose brother Ryan is also expected to be a fixture in the Saffrons attack in 2016.

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