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Coughlans set to declare for Offaly

Offaly are examining the possibility of a move for St Sylvester's brothers John and Niall Coughlan to bolster their senior football squad for the coming League campaign.

The Malahide pair have represented Dublin at minor and under-21 level while older brother John was part of the Dublin senior panel a few seasons back but would be eligible to play for the Faithful County due to the parentage rule while Offaly's failure to win a provincial football title in the past decade would allow the Malahide duo to switch their intercounty allegiances without moving clubs.

The Coughlan's background is deep-rooted in Offaly, their uncle Eugene winning All-Ireland hurling titles at full-back with the county in 1981 and '85.

Recently, St Oliver Plunkett's/ER captain Gareth Smith declared for Cavan under the same criteria and has enjoyed an impressive start to intercounty life, with good displays in each of the Breffni men's three McKenna Cup games.

Both brothers were involved in DIT's Sigerson Cup campaign last year, with John starting the final defeat to CIT while Niall was a half-time replacement.

Already, the Offaly county board have contacted their counterparts in Parnell Park for clearance after John lined out in the recent Dublin senior football regional tournament though it is thought that neither are in Pat Gilroy's plans and are eager to play top level football this season.

DERRY will have to plan without key attacker Paddy Bradley for the early stages of the NFL as he struggles to shake off a heel injury that prevented him from featuring in the Dr McKenna Cup. Bradley is certain to miss their opening game against Tyrone on February 6 and will be a doubt for the tie against Dublin seven days later in Parnell. Seán Leo and Barry McGoldrick, who are currently travelling, are also set to return to miss the ties with Tyrone and Dublin and won't link up with the squad until mid-February.

CLARE (SH v Tipperary): P Brennan; G O'Grady, C Dillon, A Brigdale; D O'Donovan, B O'Connell, P Donnellan; M 'Ogie' Murphy, J Clancy; A Markham, J Conlon, F Lynch; M Flaherty, M Scanlan, A O'Brien.


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