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Down boss McCartan will monitor form at club tournament

By John Campbell

DOWN manager James McCartan will not have far to travel this weekend to further monitor a number of his players.

The Malachy Murdock Memorial Tournament staged by his own club Burren will facilitate McCartan in his preparations for the second phase of the Allianz Football League which will get under way at the start of next month.

Tonight Down champions Kilcoo will take on Louth title-holders Newtown Blues (8.00pm) while on Sunday Armagh representatives Pearse Og will meet the host club (2.30pm).

McCartan is particularly keen to assess the form of those players in particular who have just come back into his side or who are about to thrust their way into the selection frame again.

"We have players from Kilcoo and Burren who are currently in the Down team and others to be considered," McCartan said.

Darragh O'Hanlon, who has been outstanding for the Mourne side in his appearances to date this year, will be in the vanguard of the Kicloo outfit tonight but there is a doubt about county panellist Paul Devlin who is still troubled by a groin injury. Devlin, though, remains hopeful of getting game time when the league resumes.

Daniel McCartan, Kevin McKernan, Donal O'Hare, Brendan McArdle and Eoin McCartan are all expected to turn out for Burren against Pearse Og on Sunday.

McKernan turned out for St Mary's in the McKenna Cup but showed impressive form in his county's colours against Armagh.

Eoin McCartan has only had limited involvement with Down as a substitute this term but has nonetheless revelled in his cameo roles while O'Hare continues to replicate the accuracy he has shown over the past two seasons.

Down are still without Peter Fitzpatrick, Ambrose Rogers, Daniel Hughes and Keith Quinn.

"We would be hopeful that we will have people back on board by the time the start of March comes round," added McCartan.

Down resume their league campaign against Louth at Pairc Esler, on Saturday March 3.

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