Ulster SFC: Down include debutant Flanagan for Antrim game at Newry

Ulster SFC: Down boss Burns relishing test against Antrim
Ulster Senior Football Championship quarter-final: Down v Antrim
Date: Saturday 26 May Venue: Pairc Esler, Newry Throw-in: 19:00 BST Coverage: Live on BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport website plus Radio Ulster 1341 MW

Down manager Eamonn Burns has handed a championship debut to Castlewellan's Colm Flanagan for Saturday's Ulster SFC game against Antrim in Newry.

Corner-back Flanagan made his entrance to intercounty football during the Dr McKenna Cup.

With injured Darragh O'Hanlon missing, Darren O'Hagan, Niall McParland and Caolan Mooney are in the half-backs.

An experienced attack includes Kevin McKernan, Conor Maginn, Donal O'Hare, Connaire Harrison and Ryan Johnston.

All Antrim's starting 15 have championship experience with Peter Healy and Ruairi McCann having made the debuts against Donegal last summer.

CJ McGourty is a notable absentee from the squad managed by his uncle Lenny Harbinson after he opted out following the Football League.

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Right half-back Kevin O'Boyle captains the team with an experienced line-up also including Ricky Johnston, James Laverty, Niall McKeever, Mark Sweeney, Mark Fitzpatrick and the Murray brothers Conor and Ryan.

After staying in touch with Donegal in the first half of last year's Ulster SFC quarter-final, the Saffrons collapsed to a 3-19 to 1-9 defeat at Ballybofey before exiting at the first stage of the qualifiers against Sligo.

Down reached the Ulster final last year after surprising both Armagh and Monaghan but were heavily beaten by Tyrone in the provincial final.

The Mourne County then exited from the championship when Monaghan avenged their Ulster semi-final defeat by earning a 1-24 to 1-16 win in the last qualifying round.

Both Down and Antrim had uninspiring league campaigns in the Spring with Down relegated to Division Three after defeats by Cork, Clare, Cavan and Meath and the Saffrons failing to get out of Division Four.

Down: M Reid; C Flanagan, B McArdle, A Doherty; D O'Hagan, N McParland, C Mooney; P Turley, N Donnelly; K McKernan, C Maginn, S Millar; D O'Hare, C Harrison, R Johnston.

Antrim: C Kerr; P Healy, P Gallagher, N Delargy; K O'Boyle (capt), R Johnston, J Laverty; P McAleer, N McKeever; M Sweeney, C Murray, R McCann; R Murray, M Fitzpatrick, P McBride. Subs: A Hasson, S Beatty, P Branagan, C Burke, C Duffin, O Eastwood, K Healy, C Lemon, D Lynch, M McCarry, E Walsh.

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