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Lily turns into Oakleafer

CAVAN must plan without Gareth 'Nesty' Smith for the opening rounds of the National Football League because of a hamstring injury sustained by the former Dublin underage star.

Smith is expected to be sidelined for around six weeks, which leaves him liable to miss their opening two Division Three fixtures away to Offaly (February 6) and Westmeath (February 20).

The St Oliver Plunkett's/Eoghan Ruadh playmaker was given his big inter-county break by former Cavan boss Tom Carr last season, qualifying for the Breffni county under the parentage rule. Smith had previously featured on the fringes of a couple of Dublin senior panels, but made his belated first league and championship appearances last year.

While Carr has now departed, the hotseat is now at least partially occupied by another Dub well acquainted with Smith -- Val Andrews has taken over as joint manager along with Terry Hyland.

FORMER Kildare defender Declan Brennan looks poised for a switch to Derry after taking part in recent trial matches. Brennan, based at the University of Ulster in Coleraine, has already transferred from Rathangan to Ballinascreen.