McKenna Cup gets off to a midweek start

THE 2023 inter-county football season gets underway in Ulster on Wednesday night with three group games (all at 7.30pm) in the Dr McKenna Cup

Castleblayney will host a clash between two managers cutting their teeth at inter-county level.

Vinny Corey begins life as the Farney senior manager, with new Down manager Conor Laverty in the opposite dugout after having Ulster success with county u-20s.

Andy McEntee is another new manager on the scene with Antrim who travel to the Athletic Grounds to take on an Armagh team with seven of the players that started their penalty shootout defeat to Galway.

The final game will see Tyrone host Fermanagh at O’Neill’s Healy Park with the Red Hands looking to begin 2023 with a bang after losing their Ulster and All-Ireland titles at the hands of Derry and Armagh last season.

Managers Feargal Logan and Briab Dooher have named six of the team that started the 2021 All-Ireland final, including captain Padraig Hampsey.

There are starts for last year’s u-20 winning captain Niall Devlin and Conor Cush – Ulster University’s Sigerson Vice-Captain – in the side.

The Red Hands have four other players poised for their debut: Dromore’s Nathan McCarron, Cormac Quinn  from champions Errigal Ciaran, Dungannon duo Dalaigh and Ryan Jones.

Tyrone lead the Roll of Honour with 17 titles, two ahead of reigning champions Monaghan.

The competition continues on Sunday with Fermanagh hosting Derry, Cavan take on Antrim in Portglenone while Down host last year’s beaten finalists Donegal in Páirc Esler.

Wednesday team news

Antrim: Michael Byrne, Patrick McBride, Cathal Hynds, Pádraig Mervyn, Dermot McAleese, Joseph Finnegan, Ronan Boyle, Jack Dowling, Oisin Lenehan, Marc Jordan, Colum Duffin, Conor Stewart, Pat Shivers, Kevin Small, Dominic McEnhill

Armagh: Ethan Rafferty, Paddy Burns, Aidan Forker, Ross Finn, Conor O’Neill, Barry McCambridge, Jarly Óg Burns, Niall Grimley, Stephen Sheridan, Eoin Woods, Aidan Nugent, Tiernan Kelly, Conor Turbitt, Andrew Murnin, Shane McParland

Down: John O’Hare, Tomas McInearney, Pearse Laverty, Conor Francis, Ruairi McCormack, Niall McParland, Niall Donnelly, Shane Annett,  Odhran Murdock, Mark Walsh, Donagh McAleenan, Shay Millar, Eamonn Brown, Pat Havern, Andrew Gilmore

Fermanagh: Sean McNally, Luke Flanagan, Ché Cullen, Jonny Cassidy, Ronan McCaffrey, Shane McGullion, Oisin Kelm, Brandon Horan, Stephen McGullion, Josh Largo-Ellis, Garbhan Jones, Ryan Jones, Ultan Kelm, Ciaran Corrgan, Diarmuid King

Monaghan: TBA

Tyrone: Niall Morgan, Nathan McCarron, Cormac Munroe, Pádraig Hampsey, Cormac Quinn, Peter Harte, Niall Devlin, Brian Kennedy, Richie Donnelly, Dalaigh Jones, Conor Meyler, Ryan Jones, Cathal McShane, Mattie Donnelly, Conor Cush

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