Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Antrim to face tough times in Leinster

Antrim chairman John McSparran has warned that the county hurlers face a long hard road ahead.

In the wake of the county’s comprehensive defeat by Dublin in the Leinster championship he again reiterated that there are no easy solutions.

“It was disappointing but it shouldn’t have come come as a shock,” he said.

“If anyone thought for a moment that Antrim should have been favourites or anywhere near it to beat Dublin were living in cloud cuckoo land.

“Being in the Leinster championship won’t do you any favours if you haven’t proper structures in place.

“It will give you an additional game, but we have to be working hard at getting things right at under age level.”

Dublin’s resurgence hasn’t come about by accident. £750,000 a year is pumped into the GAA’s development through coaching and they has 52 full time coaches working flat out through the county.

Dublin’s success can be judged by the fact that seven of the side that beat Antrim have both minor and Under 21 Leinster championhip medals.

Far from being an overnight success Dublin’s progression to hurling’s top table has been a result of long term planning going back 10 or 12 years.

It’s all too easily overlooked that Dublin played their league hurling in Division One and ran All Ireland champions Kilkenny to two points.

Next time out the Saffrons could draw either Offaly or Laois, but more than anything else they need to avoid resurgent and revitalised Cork. Maintaining their Liam McCarthy Cup status is now a real priority.

Finishing bottom would see them replaced next season by the winners of the Christy Ring Cup.

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