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O'Kane back on the pitch in Dunloy’s bid for glory

By John Campbell

Gregory O’Kane will reach for his ‘other’ sporting hat this week-end in a bid to add to his impressive collection of honours.

The Dunloy veteran has been engaged in his role as No 2 to Antrim hurling manager Dinny Cahill in recent months but on Sunday he will line out with his club side in their defence of their Antrim and Ulster titles.

Nor will O’Kane be the only old hand in the Dunloy side for their attractive clash with west Belfast side Rossa at Loughgiel tonight (6.30pm).

Alistair Elliott and Paddy Richmond, each with eleven county championship medals to their credit, are still displaying considerable zest and enthusiasm with their finishing skills as pronounced as ever.

They have both given magnificent service to their club but still look more than capable of adding to their honours haul.

Paul Shiels, Gareth Magee, Conor McKinley and James McKeigue are among the newer breed of Antrim aces who help provide the belief that retaining the county crown may not be outside the gambit of this Dunloy side.

Rossa meanwhile will look to a crop of exciting Under 21 players to fire up their challenge but face a tough assignment against the reigning champions who lost to Portumna in the All Ireland Club semi-final earlier in the year.

Antrim’s current full-back Cormac Donnelly will lend height and weight to the Ballycastle defence for their tie with Glenariffe at Loughgiel (5pm) tomorrow.

Donnelly has blossomed into one of the most accomplished defenders in the province and just recently captained the Antrim side to victory in the provincial U-21 final against Armagh.

He has matured rapidly since his introduction into the Antrim senior side by manager Dinny Cahill and will form a big barrier to Glenariffe’s hopes of making progress in the competition.

Tomorrow night Dunloy, where the new £1m Sports Academy has just been opened, will host an attractive double bill of championship fare.

Cushendall will be powered by players like Neil McManus, Shane McNaughton, Sean Delargey and Paddy Magill when they confront Gort na mona tonight (5pm).

Liam Watson, who showed superb shooting skills for Antrim in their All Ireland quarter-final defeat by Cork, will be key to the Loughgiel attack against South Antrim tonight at Dunloy (6.30pm).

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