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Neal McCotter: Belfast Star can eclipse top-four rivals

By David Kelly

Belfast Star coach Neal McCotter expects the second half of the All Ireland Premier League season to reap rich dividends for his men.

After a sluggish start to the season, Star gained momentum as Christmas approached and after the festive break they return to action tomorrow with a game against Demons away in Cork.

Demons are seen by many as champions-elect - including McCotter, who believes his young side can drive towards a top-four play-off spot.

McCotter said: "We didn't take much time off over Christmas, we have been working very hard in the gym and I have no doubt we'll be stronger in the second half of the season.

"Ricky Taylor has really settled into the team and for me he has developed into the best scoring American in the league.

"We are a very young side - in one match I started with four players under 22 which shows you that we have the talent but we are a side learning and maturing on the job.

"The top four is a realistic goal and I think it's a fight between ourselves, Marian and Templeogue.

"Earlier in the season we lost quite a few close games and those are games we will not lose in the second half of the season."

But with five players ruled out for tomorrow's clash with Demons, Star are huge underdogs and in many respects the battle with Marian in a fortnight is much more important.

In between that, Star's under-20s compete in the Irish Cup final at the National Stadium in Tallaght.

McCotter added: "It's going to be a very tough match against Demons - they're unbeaten and the best side in the league."

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