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Justin Fitzpatrick tipped to help fire Dungannon to glory

By Niall Crozier

Dungannon once again have adhered to their established format of appointing former on-field heroes to key off-pitch positions by naming ex-internationals Justin Fitzpatrick and Kieran Campbell as their Director of Rugby and player/coach respectively.

The pair were unveiled yesterday at Stevenson Park where club chairman Victor Scarlett reminded patrons of Dungannon’s tradition in such matters.

Recalling that George Spotswood became Dungannon’s first ever coach when he was appointed in 1969, the chairman pointed out that those who had followed include club stalwarts Andy Crawford, Jimmy Davidson, Stewart McKinney, Keith Patton, Willie Anderson and Jeremy Davidson.

Highlighting the fact that the 26-times-capped Fitzpatrick’s affiliation with Dungannon stretches back 12 years and that the big prop had been a member of the Anderson-coached All-Ireland title-winning side of 2001, the chairman lauded the new Director of Rugby’s qualities and proven commitment.

“We were very impressed by Justin last year when he was technical adviser to the club. His work ethic and no-nonsense approach to things was notable,” he said.

He also stressed the success of the Fitzpatrick-Campbell double act when they worked with the club’s under-20s a few years ago.

“Justin has been affiliated to us for a long time. He commands the respect of the players, and he commands respect from the committee,” Scarlett said, adding that the latter had “overwhelmingly endorsed his appointment as Director of Rugby”.

The chairman described that appointment as being “a positive commitment to the future of club rugby in Dungannon and Ulster.”

“We have no doubt that we will have a successful and exciting time under Justin’s leadership,” he said. “We have done our best to provide the best facilities, structures and support — and the best personnel to fulfill our expectations of playing good, winning rugby. We look forward with optimism to this incoming season.”

The new man — who has signed a two-year contract — said: “We feel we have put together a very competitive squad. We’ve retained the majority of our players and, in our opinion, recruited wisely.”

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