Antrim debut for Matthew Fitzpatrick in Ulster SFC clash with Fermanagh

Mathew Fitzpatrick (left) makes his SFC debut for Antrim against Fermanagh on Sunday
Mathew Fitzpatrick (left) makes his SFC debut for Antrim against Fermanagh on Sunday

Matthew Fitzpatrick will make his senior championship debut for Antrim in Sunday's Ulster SFC preliminary round clash with Fermanagh at Brewster Park.

The St John's forward impressed during the team's promotion-winning Division Four league campaign in the spring.

John Carron makes his first championship start since an All-Ireland qualifier defeat by Louth in 2013.

Otherwise the saffrons field a hugely experienced side as they bid to avenge two losses to Fermanagh last summer.

Kevin Niblock has been passed fit to start despite suffering from a bout of tonsilitis last week.

Carron came on as a sub in Antrim's Ulster SFC defeat by Monaghan in 2013, but Sunday's game will be his first provincial championship start.

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Experienced players return

Antrim badly missed the leadership and influence of key players such as Michael and Tomas McCann and Kevin Niblock who opted out last year.

Brian 'Bam' Neeson, who also missed last year's defeats to the Erne county in Ulster championship and All-Ireland SFC second round qualifier, is another player Fermanagh will be wary of.

He scored 1-6 in Antrim's 2-18 to 3-13 victory over Fermanagh in the Ulster SFC in 2014.

Antrim SFC (v Fermanagh): C Kerr; K O'Boyle, R Johnston, N Delargy; P McBride, M Johnston, J Laverty; N McKeever, C Murray; M Fitzpatrick, K Niblock, J Carron; B Neeson, T McCann, M McCann.

Subs: R Hanna, S McVeigh, C Burke, R Murray, P McAleer, P Gallagher, S Burke, M Armstrong, M Sweeney, D McAleese, J Dowling.