Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Loughgiel can still make Antrim proud

It's often been said that your average Gael in Ulster is more willing to hang on the coattails of province-wide achievement than those of other provinces.

And it's a hard assertion to deny. In Leinster, a Carlow man will take no greater pleasure from Dublin winning an All-Ireland football title than Galway. Likewise nobody in Kerry particularly cares if Tipperary can beat Kilkenny in an All-Ireland hurling final.

For the past eleven months though, Loughgiel's reign as the top hurling club in Ireland has been a source of delight for northern fans of the ancient art.

Their example has shown that with the right preparation, coaching and attitude, there is nothing to be afraid of.

Ironically, this triumph came just as the inter-county scene in Antrim went through a dark chapter in history, culminating in their hammering against Limerick to send them out of the Championship.

It also must be recognised that while Loughgiel have many admirers outside of Antrim, within their own county remains a fierce and somewhat counter-productive suspicion between clubs that maintain unhealthy rivalries.

On Sunday, the county team revisit the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick hoping to exorcise a few demons.

Loughgiel, whose disappointment was exemplified by the likes of Benny McCarry (left) will lick their wounds from Saturday, but they have been wonderful ambassadors for the county, all the way to their refusal to respond to recent serious provocation.

Hopefully, their lead and example can be built upon, starting on Sunday.

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