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Burns steps up hunt for fresh talent as Down target progress

 

By John Campbell

Down manager Eamonn Burns is poised to inject a further raft of fresh talent into his side as the countdown begins in earnest to the Bank of Ireland Dr McKenna Cup competition.

This year, Burns saw players such as Anthony Doherty, Niall Donnelly, Shay Millar and Joe Murphy earn their stripes with his side, and now he feels that an additional layer of talent would underpin the team's pursuit of honours.

"Obviously we have had players who have come in and performed well for us, but it is important that we continue to make our squad as strong as possible," insisted Burns.

Down secretary Sean Og McAteer has alluded to the possibility that because the inter-county itinerary overall is to be condensed, players may refuse invitations to join county squads.

Be that as it may, Burns is pressing on. Down, who last won the McKenna Cup in 2008, will open their campaign with a home match against Armagh at Pairc Esler, Newry on Wednesday, January 3 before fulfilling subsequent fixtures against Derry and UUJ in Section B.

Burns is hopeful that the experience which his side managed to bank during their Championship run this year will stand to them as they embark on their 2018 campaign.

"While we would like to get promotion to Division One and then build on the Championship progress we made this year, we will just take each match as it comes along," stressed Burns.

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