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Antrim ready to take next step to glory, says Seamus McKenna

By Declan Bogue

Published 02/09/2016

Vital role: Sinead McLaughlin returns as a selector
Vital role: Sinead McLaughlin returns as a selector

Antrim ladies manager Seamus McKenna admits his project may be ahead of schedule as his side gear up for this weekend's All-Ireland Junior Championship semi-final against London (Sunday, 1.30pm, Fingallians).

The Rossa clubman has tempted last year's captain Sinead McLaughlin back as a selector this year, and while they failed to get out of Division Four with defeat to Limerick in the league final, they are now presented with a big opportunity.

"I think a bit of belief has been lacking in Antrim and although we have won Junior Championships in the last while, we haven't built anything from that," he said.

Having been involved in various Development Squads and the county minors, McKenna agreed to take the senior job on as a three-year project.

After losing the preliminary round to Longford, Antrim recovered to defeat Lancashire 8-19 to 4-10 a fortnight ago. Although the win may have been facile, it went some way to boosting morale within the camp, according to McKenna.

"Even though it was only a day trip (to Liverpool), it sort of bonded the girls together and built a bit of confidence back. That's what the trip was more for," he said.

"It will stand us in good stead for this weekend because they were very flat and deflated after the Longford game.

"In terms of us, it was going out and seeing how we played as a team, looking at ourselves and our performance."

They also identified and were able to highlight some shortcomings in their game that, while familiar, have to be addressed.

"We did learn from it because defensively, we know we need to be a lot tighter. The scoring ability, we know we have it. It's just defensively, we are going to have to up our game a wee bit," he admitted.

"I think we are very capable of winning this All-Ireland if we perform and it will build something among the players.

"A winning mentality breeds a sense of belief within the squad," he added.

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