Coulter appointed Down captain

Down footballer manager Paddy O'Rourke has appointed star forward Benny Coulter as his captain for the 2006 season.

Down footballer manager Paddy O'Rourke has appointed star forward Benny Coulter as his captain for the 2006 season.

23-year-old Coulter, who is currently recovering from surgery on a torn groin muscle, is replacing corner forward Liam Doyle as skipper. Doyle will act as vice-captain for the forthcoming campaign.

Mayobridge clubman Coulter, who was one of Ireland's few success stories during October's International Rules series in Australia, is itching to get back to inter-county action, but the wing forward is likely to sit out the opening rounds of this month's Dr. McKenna Cup.

O'Rourke's men kickstart their McKenna campaign against All-Ireland champions Tyrone next Sunday in Omagh (throw-in 2.00pm).

A 24-man Down panel has been confirmed for the initial stages of the season - Brendan Kearney, Mark Doran, Darren Cunningham and Conor Gribben have been brought in owing to injuries and ineligibility.

Dan Gordon (St Mary's), Eoin McCartan and Dan McCartan (both Queen's) are required by their universities for the duration of the McKenna Cup. Ronan Murtagh (knee), Sean Farrell (back), Colin McCrickard and Gavin Barry (both groin) are all currently sidelined.

DOWN SQUAD: M McVeigh, B McVeigh, D Rafferty, B Kearney, A Brannigan, M Cole, A O'Prey, J Clarke, P Murphy, D Cunningham, M Doran, B Grant, R Sexton, A Rodgers, A Scullion, A Molloy, S Ward, D Hughes, L Doyle, B Coulter (capt), C Gribben, M Walsh, A Rice, J Doran.

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