Michael McCann departs the Antrim football squad

Midfielder will be a major loss adding to the disappointment of missing out on promotion

Antrim midfielder Michael McCann has left the county’s senior football panel. Photo: Russell Pritchard/Inpho

Antrim midfielder Michael McCann has left the county’s senior football panel. Photo: Russell Pritchard/Inpho

 

Antrim’s Ulster championship ambitions have been debased by the news that pivotal midfielder Michael McCann has opted out of the county’s senior football panel for the remainder of the 2015 campaign.

The 2009 All Star nominee, the first from his county in almost a decade, was a noticeable absentee from the squad in their Allianz League final round defeat to Offaly, a loss which cost them promotion from Division Four.

It’s now been revealed that the reason for such was because he has indeed left the panel, with a spokesperson for Antrim GAA citing work commitments as the grounds for the decision - and likewise for McCann’s brother Tomás who has also left the panel.

Two years ago Michael similarly made himself unavailable for selection having set up his own business, and the same rationale has been given this time around.

“He’s a huge loss and we’re disappointed but we accept it’s a crucial time for the two of them with their new family business,” a spokesman told the Irish Times. “The door will remain open though through the Spring for a return.”

Last summer both of the brothers started in all three of Antrim’s championship games, with Michael scoring 0-3 from midfield and Tómas managing seven points from corner forward.

Antrim GAA are also insistent that the door remains open to last year’s talisman Kevin Niblock who has so far not committed to Frank Fitzsimmons’ setup.

Antrim play Fermanagh in this year’s Ulster championship quarter final; in the same fixture last summer the McCann brothers and Niblock scored 1-8 between them in defeating the Ernesiders.

So far in 2015 though and Peter McGrath’s team have been in fine form, securing promotion to next year’s Division Two with a game to spare.

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