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Antrim plotting a path to National League promotion

By John Campbell

The 'one match at a time' mantra has always been close to the heart of Antrim football boss Frank Fitzsimmons, but while his focus is on Sunday's Allianz League meeting with Wicklow at Corrigan Park, he admits that he has one eye on the Easter Sunday confrontation with Offaly in Tullamore.

While Antrim will be expected to take maximum points against Wicklow, the trip to face joint pacesetters Offaly is viewed by Fitzsimmons as his team's most important assignment to date.

Offaly and Longford currently share top spot in the table with nine points each and they meet on Sunday when the victors would be all but guaranteed promotion.

"If we beat Wicklow, we'd be going to Tullamore with nine points from a possible 12 and that would keep us very much in the promotion race," said Fitzsimmons.

"Offaly have been consistent, they'll have home advantage and they know they could make certain of promotion by beating us."

Antrim's tame start to the league, when they drew with Carlow and lost to Longford, albeit by a point, has tended to haunt them to some extent since then, but Fitzsimmons believes that greater optimism has now been fermented within his squad.

"Thankfully, we have players in the side who are setting a great example to others and as a result there is a better all-round outlook," reveals Fitzsimmons.

"We have people like Tony Scullion, Sean McVeigh, Michael Pollock and C J McGourty as well as our skipper Justin Crozier who are certainly showing the way.

"In an ideal world, if you had a team that was made up of 15 Tony Scullions you could really go places. I know that the boys will give us a huge effort over the course of these last two league game."

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