Shay Millar return set to boost Down but three Johnston brothers may be missing
DOWN could be set for a significant boost as Shay Millar is due home from Australia in the coming weeks.
The Irish News understands that the Glenn attacker’s return is imminent, although no dates have been finalised.
Millar has not had contact with Paddy Tally recently, but the Down management are believed to be aware of the situation.
With Millar planning to play football for his club once he returns, it would be a major surprise if he was not asked to return to county colours too.
Millar was a revelation since making his debut in 2017, but he has missed the last two seasons after moving to Australia. Millar’s younger brother Ronan, who also played for Down before moving to Australia, is already back in Ireland.
RGU Downpatrick player Anthony Doherty and Burren’s Gerard McGovern both also left to go abroad around the same time as Millar, but the pair have now linked back up with the squad ahead of the 2021 season.
Former Down captain Niall McParland is also due home from Qatar at the end of June, but given the short window for county games this season, he is unlikely to be involved with the Mourne county this season.
IT IS also anticipated that Down senior football manager Paddy Tally will be without the three Johnston brothers for the foreseeable future.
The Kilcoo trio all featured in last year’s Ulster Championship, but Ryan and Sheelan are not currently with the Down squad – the latter instead planning to focus on Under 20 commitments when they are given clearance to train.
Jerome, meanwhile, could miss the majority of the side’s Division Two North League campaign with a hamstring problem.
Saval’s Pat Havern is amongst those back in the panel as Tally attempts to prepare for the side’s League opener on May 15, an away clash with Mayo.
Last year’s All-Ireland finalists have received a boost last week with the news that Aidan O’Shea did not suffer ligament damage to his knee in a recent training session. The Breaffy man could now return during the League campaign, although the Down match may come too soon.
That match will be one of the last played on the current surface at Elvery’s MacHale Park with the pitch at the Castlebar venue due to be torn up and re-laid. A fundraising campaign was launched by the Connacht county last Friday to help with the redevelopment.