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Vernon expected to make Down clash

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Charlie Vernon should be fit to take part in Armagh’s Ulster Championship derby clash against Down

ARMAGH defender Charlie Vernon is expected to be fit for next month’s Ulster Championship clash with Down despite sustaining an eye injury in training.

The Armagh Harps man was having further scans on Wednesday, and manager Kieran McGeeney will be hoping for good news given the importance of Vernon to the team. With key defenders Brendan Donaghy and Ciaran McKeever still working their way back to full fitness, the loss of Vernon would be massive.

It would also have a big impact on young defender Aaron McKay who has formed a two-man fullback line with Vernon with that partnership expected to take on Down’s front two at Pairc Esler.

The Mourne county have their own injury problems with Eamonn Burn shaving to contend with a huge injury list that saw a limited panel travel to Kilmainhim for a challenge match at the weekend.

The side lost out 5-13 to 0-12 with Darragh O’Hanlon Down’s most impressive performer on the day.

Some confusion has surrounded the match with media reports suggesting that Caolan Mooney, from the start, and Gerdie Collins, from the bench, played some part – but neither actually did.

The good news is that both are still in contention to be available for the June 4 clash with Mooney stepping up his recovery this week from a knee injury picked up whilst playing for Rostrevor.

Ryan Johnston (hamstring) is also expected to be fully fit for the match, although his brother Jerome (quad) is still touch and go. Donal O’Hare could also make a late push for a spot in the Down squad after coming through Burren’s loss to Castlewellan last week. The attacker has been hampered with an ankle injury, and Burns will want him to pace himself to ensure he doesn’t aggravate it.

Shay Millar, meanwhile, missed Glenn’s loss to Bryansford last Friday with a back injury. The versatile forward, who had a good League campaign, suffered spasms in the early stages of last Monday’s match with Clonduff and was not risked on Friday.

His clubmate Niall McParland, believed to be pushing hard at Down training, picked up a hamstring injury against the ‘Ford and he may now miss the Newry clash.

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