By Michael McMullan
IT has the makings of an interesting race for the Antrim senior football title next year with Aghagallon’s appointment of former Down manager Pete McGrath as their senior boss for 2023.
Aghagallon reached their second Saffron senior final in as many seasons and had Cargin on the ropes before being reeled back in again from an eight-point lead.
Audi Kelly stepped down after the season and has since been appointed manager of Derry intermediate side Desertmartin.
McGrath, who also managed Fermanagh and Louth, was manager of the Burren reserves last season.
Alongside Ray Morgan, he was central to the success of St Colman’s, Newry in the MacRory and Hogan Cup while also managing the Ireland International Rules team.
McGrath also spent three seasons with his native Rostrevor and his appointment is a huge coup as Aghagallon bid to go one better and get their hands on the McNamee Cup for the first time.
Champions Cargin have retained Ronan Devlin as manager with John McKeever remaining with his native Portglenone and Gerard McNulty staying on with Creggan.
There will be a change in St Brigid’s with brothers John and Paddy McGuckin appointed to take over from the outgoing Anthony McGrath.
St Brigid’s are the current Antrim u-17 and u-20 ‘A’ champions, but were beaten (0-14 to 0-7) by Aghagallon at the quarter-final last season.
Donagh Finnegan has been appointed as the St Paul’s senior football manager, with a management team of Damian Martin, Damien Duffy, and Colin Burgess.
Sean Burns and Paddy McShane will remain in charge of St Galls, with Aaron Douglas staying on at St John’s.
Promoted Moneyglass will again have Hugh Carey at the helm in 2023. His management team will comprise Simon McCloy, Garett Rooney, Dessie McCann, Paul Campbell and goalkeeping coach Mark Carey.
Naomh Éanna have retained Carl McCabe as manager with Michael McCambridge in charge of their hurlers.
Anthony McQuillan remains in charge of intermediate champions Dunloy with Joe Cassidy, Paul Downey and Ian Hynds staying on board with beaten finalists Glenravel.
It is the same story in All Saints with Liam Bradley and Jason Quinn staying on board.