Antrim to vet new talent in Doctor McKenna Cup
Thursday, 15 December 2016
ANTRIM will run their eye over a host of new players during the forthcoming Dr McKenna Cup with over a dozen debutants included in the squad.
Last week's draw in Belfast's Fitzwilliam Hotel pitted the Saffrons against Monaghan, Fermanagh and St Mary's in Section B of the pre-season competition.
With several players unavailable for the first tournament of the new season, managers Frank Fitzsimons and Gearoid Adams have included 14 new players, while there are recalls for St Brigid's attacker Ronan McGrady, St Enda's midfielder Ruairi Scott as well as Lámh Dhearg's Declan Lynch.
Recently-crowned Under 21 champions Aghagallon have been rewarded for a fine 2016 campaign which also saw them win the Intermediate Football Championship and the Division Two title with four call-ups - namely Pat Brannigan, Oisin Lenehan, Eunan Walsh and Ruairi McCann.
A number of established stars from Cargin won't feature in the McKenna Cup following their extended double-winning season which ended with a five-point defeat to Killyclogher in the Ulster Club Championship.
“This is the time of the year to get fellas into the squad to get a look at them," said Fitzsimons. "There are a lot of fresh faces in the squad.
“The lads from Cargin were disappointed with how their season ended. I expected them to go far further in Ulster myself to be honest.
“When you lose games like that, it is hard to take so they will be taking a good rest.
“We will hopefully get those guys back in towards the end of the McKenna Cup but we have a lot of players to look at in the meantime."
Fitzsimons and Adams trawled the county in search of fresh talent as Antrim aim to build on a promising 2016 season which saw them gain promotion from Division Four.
A lack of scoring power up front seemed to limit Antrim's ability during the Championship as they suffered defeats to Fermanagh and Limerick.
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