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Calling the shots

 

By Declan Bogue

Bank of Ireland Dr McKenna Cup Section A

ANTRIM v CAVAN

(Sunday, Glenavy, 2pm)

Two teams that can be said have a lot to do.

Antrim’s conditioning against Tyrone showed up an enormous gulf, but any job Lenny Harbinson has will involve short and long-term goals. Defeating Tyrone in a McKenna Cup game is some way out of reach..

VERDICT: Antrim

Bank of Ireland  Dr McKenna Cup Section A

TYRONE v ST MARY’S

(Sunday, Coalisland, 2pm)

The Sigerson Cup champions come to Coalisland for a meeting between Mickey Harte and his former trainer Paddy Tally, who is now an All-Ireland winning manager in his own right.

Tyrone don’t tend to take things lightly on students at this time of year.

Watch out for the telling contributions of their sizeable Pomeroy contingent, with the classy Frank Burns delivering on his promise.

VERDICT: Tyrone

Bank of Ireland Dr McKenna Cup Section B

ARMAGH v DERRY

(Sunday, Athletic Grounds, 2pm)

As with the case of many teams in this year’s competition, Derry have decided to merely field in games, giving a raft of players an opportunity under new boss Damian McErlain to show what they can bring.

Armagh are struggling for numbers, although in very different ways.

The experience of their front line players will count for something here and a win should get Kieran McGeeney’s men into the semi-finals of the tournament. 

VERDICT: Armagh

Bank of Ireland Dr McKenna Cup Section B

DOWN v UUJ

(Sunday, Burren, 2pm)

An unusual venue for a Down match, a bit of a throwback for many as Eamonn Burns’ men run out at Burren for this game against the students.

The UUJ team has a strong look with Johnny Munroe of Tyrone at midfield and David Mulgrew in the half forward line, while Eoin McHugh will pop up anywhere.

Burns realises he has to rest a certain amount of key players, but should have enough to get past a stern test.

VERDICT: Down

Bank of Ireland Dr McKenna Cup

Section C

FERMANAGH v QUB

(Sunday, Brewster Park, 2pm)

The Rory Gallagher era got off to a start with winning ways, with Tempo’s Aidan Breen involved in setting up a goal, scoring one himself and having another disallowed.

They blooded plenty of new talent too in the shape of Conor McGee and Lorcan McStravick, and Pat Cadden made a second coming as goalkeeper — and a win over Monaghan will always be prized in the county, no matter the competition.

They will have too much for Aidan O’Rourke’s students.

VERDICT: Fermanagh

Bank of Ireland Dr McKenna Cup Section C

MONAGHAN v DONEGAL

(Sunday, Clones, 2pm)

Malachy O’Rourke is intent on casting the Monaghan net wide this month, having given Conor McManus some well deserved time off and resting more established figures in the Oriel arsenal.

As such, this is a bit of a lottery, although Donegal have been putting in hard yards since Declan Bonner took over for his second spell as manager, and introduced former Dublin underage star Nathan Mullins.

VERDICT: Donegal

CONOR McGURK CUP

DOWN v DONEGAL

(Saturday, The Dub, 1.30pm)

Down need to up their game considerably from the showing on Tuesday night, although their defeat to Queen’s was played in obscene conditions.

VERDICT: Down

CONOR McGURK CUP

ANTRIM v TYRONE

(Saturday, The Dub, 12noon)

Antrim should have no bother here.

VERDICT: Antrim

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