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Upbeat Harbinson unveils new faces

Firm stance: Lenny Harbinson is boosting his Antrim squad
Firm stance: Lenny Harbinson is boosting his Antrim squad
John Campbell

By John Campbell

Antrim football manager Lenny Harbinson has stepped up his preparations considerably ahead of the 2020 season.

Harbinson may have lost a few experienced players but he is certainly not prepared to wallow in self-pity.

"There is no point in dwelling on negative aspects," he insists.

"Players are coming and going from most inter-county panels and we are no exception. I am happy with the calibre of the players we have brought in, that's the important thing."

With experienced duo Tomás McCann and Paddy Cunningham having already committed to the Saffrons for next year, their return has triggered a steady flow of players into the ranks.

Kevin Small from Creggan is regarded as a very welcome addition, while Eamon Fyffe has returned from the United States where he was on a soccer scholarship.

Lamh Dhearg pair Ben Rice and Mark Jordan earned their county call-ups following impressive performances over the course of the Antrim Championship, in which their side reached the final only to lose out to Cargin.

And the inclusion of Dermot McAleese and Ronan Delargy of Roger Casements, Portglenone offers Harbinson another helping of experience, with Kieran Garland from St John's also having been introduced to the squad.

Meanwhile, reigning Ulster minor football champions Monaghan face a difficult assignment against Armagh in their opening game in next year's competition.

Monaghan will be bidding to make it a hat-trick of titles and thus maintain their provincial dominance.

Cavan and Derry will contest the preliminary round with the winners facing Tyrone, who were beaten in this year's decider. In the other opening round ties, Donegal will take on James McCartan's Down side, while Fermanagh will square up to Antrim.

Ulster Minor Football Championship: Preliminary Round (April 18): Derry v Cavan; Round One (April 25): Monaghan v Armagh; Derry/Cavan v Tyrone; Donegal v Down; Fermanagh v Antrim; May 2: Qualifier Round One; May 9/10: Round two/Qualifier Round Two; May 16/17: Qualifier Round Three; June 19/21: Semi-finals; July 4/5: Final.

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