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Johnston expected to remain as selector for Down

By John Campbell

Down manager James McCartan has still to publicly unveil his full backroom team for the 2013 season but it’s odds-on that Jerome Johnston will continue to fulfil his role as a selector.

Johnston has had a substantial input into Down’s progress under McCartan and while silverware has continued to prove elusive, nonetheless a number of new players such as Niall McParland, Keith Quinn, Aidan Branagan, Donal O’Hare, Darren O’Hagan and Niall Branagan have been afforded the opportunity to establish themselves in the side.

Now there is the strong possibility that before too long Johnston may not be the only member of his family to be involved with the Mourne outfit.

When Kilcoo beat Mayobridge in the county senior football championship decider on Sunday, two of Jerome’s sons distinguished themselves in the black and white jersey.

Jerome Jnr started the match at right-half-forward and landed the most spectacular score of the day in the 44th minute, a towering effort from close to the left-hand touchline that propelled Kilcoo into a seemingly unassailable 2-7 to 0-6 lead.

Indeed, when Paul Devlin converted the last of his five points two minutes later, he appeared to have eased his team into the comfort zone until Mayobridge unleashed a late rally that elicited 1-2 without response.

And it was in those closing stages that another member of the Johnston clan, Ryan, made his presence felt after being introduced as a substitute in the 48th minute.

His deft touches and clever ball control suggest that he has a bright future ahead of him and manager Jim McCorry had nothing but praise for the Johnston brothers and the rest of his young guns afterwards.

“We had some players in the side who were actually playing at minor level last year so this has been a big step up for them,” said. McCorry.

“Now these boys are looking forward to playing in the Ulster Club Championship against top-quality opposition.”

McCorry’s vision in nurturing youthful talent and being unafraid to gamble with players in a demanding environment is certainly beginning to pay handsome dividends.

Belfast Telegraph


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