By Michael McMullan
DUNLOY manager Gregory O’Kane says defender Aaron Crawford is in a “race against the clock” with their All-Ireland final date with Ballyhale Shamrocks around the corner next week.
Crawford, who scored a vital point in their Ulster final win over Sleacht Néill, was forced off after picking up a collar bone injury in a challenge with Bernard Burke early in the second half of their game against St Thomas’.
“He is doing everything he can and it is just a matter of a race against the clock,” O’Kane said of Crawford who had an operation earlier this month.
There is better news with reports of Chrissy McMahon being back in training and Conor McKinley made his return with Antrim in their Conor McGurk Cup win over Armagh.
It was the first competitive minutes for ‘Woody’ since sustaining a shoulder injury in the final league outing of the season, against Loughgiel, before the start of the championship.
While O’Kane didn’t comment if the experienced defender would play in Croke Park he was over the moon for McKinley.
“Conor has come back into full fitness, which is great for him. It was a bad injury at the start of the championship, a horrible time to pick up a knock. He has worked hard and is coming into full fitness which is good for him,” O’Kane said.
The McGurk Cup also gave an opportunity for other members of Dunloy’s squad to get a slice of the action.
Anton McGrath, Gabriel McTaggart, Nicky and Kevin McKeague all saw action to keep their eye in.
Eoin O’Neill – who missed the championship run after a transfer to London – hit five points for Darren Gleeson’s side.
“I have a very good working relationship with Darren and we’d talk regularly, right throughout the year,” O’Kane said of the arrangement that benefited both parties.
“The split season, to me, it works perfectly. The boys go to the county and are with the county, then they come back to the clubs
“A good, healthy working relationship with the county manager can only be good for our players, it works well for us.
“There is a good bond going on in Antrim at the minute. We are still Antrim people and healthy clubs (means) healthy county. Darren is very, very accommodating to get lads get game time, which we were looking for.”