Nugent hopes to have crucial say in All-Ireland drive
Lamh Dhearg hurling club hotshot Domhnall Nugent makes no secret of his ambition as his side limber up for the All-Ireland Junior Club Championship series.
The Hannahstown side have taken delivery of the Antrim and Ulster titles in some style with Nugent leading the way in the scoring stakes but suddenly the club's ambitions have soared and their top scorer epitomises the prevailing buoyancy.
"It would be nice to land the score that might just win the All-Ireland Junior Club final," mused Nugent. "But, seriously, it's great to be going into the New Year knowing that we will be stepping up to a different level altogether.
"We knew that it was going to be hard to win the Antrim title but then when we won the Ulster title last weekend, this has helped our belief but we will keep our feet on the ground."
The Lamh Dhearg outfit aim to strike a blow for Antrim's hurling prestige in a year in which the county team have struggled for the most part and off-the-field rancour, particularly in relation to the sudden departure of county boss PJ O'Mullan, has tended to deflect from the actual sport itself.
Now Nugent and his colleagues are determined to try and keep the county's name up in lights.
It was his 1-8 in the Antrim final that helped to secure victory over Cushendun and then last weekend his unerring accuracy in compiling 0-11 against Donegal side Sean MacCumhaills was instrumental in steering Lamh Dhearg to the provincial crown.
And manager Simon Wilson lobs in what he believes could prove a big spur on the All-Ireland stage.
"Several of the players are in their 30s and they will want to make the most of this opportunity," he stated.
"It's not every season that the opportunity to step into the national spotlight comes round and I am urging the lads to give it everything. Lamh Dhearg are a dual club but the hurlers are certainly doing their bit just now."