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Antrim are tipped to push classy Donegal all the way

By John Campbell

Published 19/05/2016

Warning: Shane Heavron says Derry must keep their focus or face disappointment against Tyrone in the Ulster quarter-final
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Antrim minor football manager Hugh McGettigan sees his team's forthcoming Ulster Championship quarter-final against Donegal as something more than a provincial assignment.

"We will be coming up against one of the two favourites for the All-Ireland minor title and this underlines the enormity of the task we face," he points out.

So his anxiety to ensure that hot-shot corner forward Liam Quinn is fit to face the north-west side is understandable.

The elusive Kickhams Creggan ace landed four superb points from play in the 4-10 to 2-9 win over Fermanagh at the weekend but then had to be carried from the field late on with a leg injury.

"We are monitoring Liam's fitness," says McGettigan.

Even though his side had seven points to spare against the Ernesiders, the Saffrons boss insists there is "work to be done".

He says: "It was always in our thinking that we might be meeting Donegal somewhere along the line and I suppose it's now a case of us meeting them sooner rather than later so that's the challenge for us."

Skipper Patrick McCormick, dynamic wing-back Patrick Finnegan, imposing full-forward Kevin Small and versatile left-full-forward Michael Hagan along with the exciting Quinn, of course, underline the depth of talent within the side.

While happy to contemplate the plus factors, McGettigan balances this with a reality check.

"Donegal beat us by 10 points in the league, they were down to 14 players for a spell and they did not have their best player Niall O'Donnell on duty so it's going to take a massive effort if we are to get the better of them in the championship," he adds.

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