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McLean in bid to become new Antrim chief


By John Campbell

A shake-up at the top within Antrim could be on the way now that Dunloy club dynamo Jim McLean has intimated that he will be opposing the sitting incumbent Collie Donnelly for the role of chairman.

McLean, who has held a miscellany of positions within the Dunloy club and is currently Antrim's representative on the Ulster Council's Central Competitions Control Committee, is particularly keen that the clubs should "take control" of the county administration again.

Donnelly became chairman when the Saffron Vision concept came into being and it is understood that he is keen to continue in his role.

McLean is believed to have the backing of several clubs as he prepares to go head-to-head with Donnelly when the county Convention takes place on December 4.

While McLean is keen to see "the grassroots" have a greater say in how GAA affairs are conducted within the county, he believes that the recently established Antrim Business Forum can continue to play a key role in fundraising and other initiatives.

"I think that the Forum could have a big part to fulfil in helping to take Antrim forward, particularly now that the Belfast Urban Plan has been finalised," stated McLean.

"I think we are on the cusp of a very exciting time for the GAA in Antrim. I believe that county secretary Frankie Quinn and the Ulster Council's Dr Eugene Young have done great work in connection with the Urban Plan, as has GAA Director General Paraic Duffy.

"Indeed, I think that the Plan will be part of Paraic's overall legacy he will leave behind when he departs from office at the end of March.

"Obviously I hope to get as much support as I can in my bid to become chairman and I am standing for office in order to get the chance to do my very best for every element of the GAA within the county."

Antrim have already confirmed Lenny Harbinson as their new football boss and this year's hurling management team comprising Dominic McKinley, Terence 'Sambo' McNaughton, Neil Pedan and Gary O'Kane have been re-appointed, with former Tipperary boss Liam Sheedy in an advisory role.

Meanwhile, Tyrone manager Mickey Harte has summoned newcomers Brendan Burns, Ciaran McLaughlin and Michael McKernan into his preliminary 2018 panel.

Burns was superb for Pomeroy, who reached the semi-finals of the Championship, while McLaughlin won a second Championship medal with Omagh St Enda's and McKernan impressed at full-back for the Tyrone U21s.

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