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Johnston targets Kilcoo success


By Declan Bogue

In surveying the collateral damage from their Down county final win over Burren, Kilcoo forward Jerome Johnston was asked about the nature of the injury to his brother Ryan, who was withdrawn early clearly in discomfort.

"I'm not sure, that's between Ryan and the physio," he answered with a half smile, not prepared to give anything away even in the glow of their sixth consecutive county title.

As it happens, a metatarsal injury will keep him out of Sunday's clash with Slaughtneil, a repeat of last year's final.

Although they will deny it, the subtle tweaks in Kilcoo's style to becoming more attack-minded could have been with Slaughtneil in mind.

"Kilcoo is not a very defensive team. We want to go out and play football and kick the ball as much as we can," is the view of the 25-year-old teacher.

"Sometimes you're playing teams that don't allow you to do that and you have to adapt differently, but if we're getting the chance to play football, we're going to take that opportunity. If we can kick the ball, we'll kick the ball."

Looking ahead to the moment the big maroon Slaughtneil machine rolls into Newry, Johnston drew parallels to the run they had last winter.

"It's not going to be easy. Last year we hadn't it easy either, we had to go away in the first round to play Scotstown," he says.

"To win a Down Championship is massive.

"Three or four teams every year can win it, and the Down Championship doesn't get the respect it deserves because there's actually some quality teams in Down.

"Maybe 2011 was a learning curve for us when we maybe did take our eye off things and ended up getting turned over. Since then it's been one game at a time and now we have a chance at another preliminary round."

Belfast Telegraph


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