Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

Generous defence concerns Antrim boss Liam Bradley

Antrim manager Liam Bradley acknowledges that his team's penchant for leaking goals could yet undo their bid to make a speedy exit from Division Four of the Allianz League.

In their opening Power NI Dr McKenna Cup tie against Cavan at the weekend, the Saffrons conceded 3-12, thus emphasising that all-too-familiar flaws still exist within the team's defensive mechanism.

Bradley's concerns emanate from the fact that his rearguard contained considerable experience with Tony Scullion returning at wing-back, former skipper Kevin O'Boyle, Ricky Johnston and the talented Niall Delargy forming the full-back line and both Mark Sweeney and Justin Crozier bringing their experience into play in the half-back line.

"Leaking goals has been a particular worry in the past and it's something that we must try and eradicate," maintains Bradley.

"While I was happy with some of the players performances against Cavan, to concede 3-12 is to play into the opposition's hands. We have to tighten up at the back."

On Sunday, the Saffrons will meet a UUJ side which struggled against Down last weekend but they could still pose problems for Bradley's erratic defence.

Danny Savage and Caolan O'Boyle in particular are accurate marksmen well capable of taking scores from distance and Bradley is aware of this threat.

"We will get the opportunity to look at other players against UUJ on Sunday but it's important that we do not concede too much," warns Bradley.

"We want to get momentum going during the McKenna Cup that will stand to us when we commence our campaign in Division Four next month."

While Bradley is pleased with the form of old hands such as Tony Scullion, Michael McCann, Tomas McCann, Mark Sweeney, C J McGourty and Conor Murray, he is anxious to see some of his young guns step up to the mark.

McGourty scored 0-7 against Cavan (six frees) while Michael Pollock looked useful, but should fresh faces adorn the scoresheet, Bradley will be more than happy.

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