Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Antrim relying on seasoned performers

Antrim manager Frank Dawson is pursuing a different course to some of his counterparts as the Power NI Dr McKenna Cup competition hots up.

While experimentation appears to be the name of the game as several bosses strive to discover a settled line-up for the forthcoming Allianz League, Dawson has already pinpointed what he believes might just be his strongest side.

And in this respect he is prepared to hoist considerable responsibility onto the shoulders of seasoned campaigners who have returned to the fold.

Michael Magill, Kevin Niblock, Michael Heron, Michael Pollock, Paddy Cunningham and Andrew McLean are now part and parcel of the Saffrons panel again and Dawson not only suggests that they can set the tone for the display against Tyrone on Sunday but can provide the impetus for the forthcoming league itinerary.

“We have players back in there who have gained experience in the past and it’s very encouraging that they have committed themselves again,” states Dawson.

“This has been a big decision for some of them but I am sure that they will feel they have taken the right course of action. While we were very happy to get a win over UUJ last Sunday, this game against Tyrone will be a much bigger test for us.”

The return of some familiar faces will compensate to some extent for the loss of James Loughrey who is now based in Cork and the absence of Tómas McCann who is recovering from surgery.

Michael McCann, Brendan Herron, Justin Crozier and Tony Scullion are among Antrim’s more established players who are keen to help the side gain added status this year.

“Overall we have a fair raft of experience in there but the important thing is that we get playing to a system and get into a winning groove if we can,” says Dawson.

“After we play Tyrone we have to play Derry next Wednesday so you could say that within a matter of a few days we will get a fair idea of where we are. I am delighted with the effort the players are putting in.”

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