Rogers returns for Down's trip to Derry

Ambrose Rogers, Conor Laverty and Championship debutant Niall Madine has been named in the Down team for Sunday's Ulster SFC quarter-final against Derry at Celtic Park (throw-in 2pm).

Rogers returns for Down's trip to Derry

Ambrose Rogers, Conor Laverty and Championship debutant Niall Madine has been named in the Down team for Sunday's Ulster SFC quarter-final against Derry at Celtic Park (throw-in 2pm).

Rogers has fully recovered from the knee injury that ruled him out of the Mourne men's league campaign, and joins Kevin McKiernan in midfield for his first competitive start of the season. Kalum King is listed at full-forward for the provincial opener.

Down manager James McCarton has included three players making their first Championship starts - corner back Ryan Boyle, wing back Keith Quinn and Niall Madine, the Under-21 star who will be hoping to impress from wing forward.

Madine only had a 13-minute cameo during the league, but the Saval youngster pointed twice during that late substitute appearance against Kildare and is highly regarded within the Mourne county set-up.

Donal O'Hare has fought off a hamstring injury to take his place at top of the right, while former All-Star forward Danny Hughes is expected to see some action as a substitute after getting some game-time in a recent challenge game against Antrim.

Patsy Bradley, who had been rated doubtful for the quarter-final clash, is a notable inclusion in the Derry side for this weekend's match.

Derry boss Brian McIver has been boosted by Bradley's quick recovery from a back injury, and the Slaughtneil clubman slots in at centre-field alongside Ryan Bell.

The hosts will field four Championship debutants from the throw-in - goalkeeper Eoin McNicholl, midfielder Bell and Aidan McAlynn and Benny Heron on the right side of the Oak Leafers' attack.

Corner back Ryan Scott and corner forward Coilin Devlin also return in the two changes to the Derry team that overcame Westmeath in the Division 2 final. They come in for Daniel Heavron and Raymond Wilkinson, who have both picked up season-ending knee injuries.

Vice-captain Dermot McBride, who is included on the bench, said the focus for the Oak Leaf squad in the build-up to the game has been very much on themselves.

"In the past we have found it difficult to break down the blanket defence, but we have been working on our forward play and our defensive play," he told the Irish News.

"Brian (McIver) and Paddy (Tally) have been putting different scenarios in place and it has been going well so far. We haven't been looking at Down, we have been looking at ourselves. Everybody knows what to do.

"You saw that in the league final. When fellas came off the bench in the league final, they knew what to do.

"It's a very, very good set-up and everybody is very happy with it and everybody has been buying into it. We know what to do and hopefully that will show in Celtic Park."

The winners of Sunday's quarter-final tie will move on to meet reigning champions Donegal in the last-four of the Ulster Championship on Sunday, June 23.

DERRY (SFC v Down): Eoin McNicholl; Gerard O'Kane, Chrissy McKaigue, Ryan Scott; Charlie Kielt, Mark Lynch, Sean Leo McGoldrick; Patsy Bradley, Ryan Bell; Aidan McAlynn, James Kielt, Enda Lynn; Benny Heron, Eoin Bradley, Coilin Devlin.

Subs: Thomas Mallon, Declan Brown, Dermot McBride, Brian McCallion, Conor McAtamney, Kevin Johnson, Bliain Gormley, Declan Mullan, Emmett McGuckin, Lee Kennedy, Aaron Devlin.

DOWN: Brendan McVeigh; Daniel McCartan, Brendan McArdle, Ryan Boyle; Declan Rooney, Peter Turley, Keith Quinn; Ambrose Rogers, Kevin McKiernan; Niall Madine, Mark Poland, Benny Coulter; Donal O'Hare, Kalum King, Conor Laverty.

More in this section

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up