Antrim manager Liam Bradley could find himself stripped of some of his most valuable resources for both the Barrett Sports Lighting Dr McKenna Cup and the National Football League.
Should St Gall’s overcome Loup in the Ulster Club final on Sunday week, then a tranche of players including Colin Brady, Andrew McLean, Aodhan Gallagher, Kevin Niblock, Terry O’Neill and Sean Burke will be unavailable for the Saffrons early season fixtures as they will be preparing for All-Ireland Club Championship action.
And with Tomas McCann due to return from a three-week Australian Rules trial period shortly, Bradley must await the Cargin player’s decision on his future involvement with the county squad.
With Portglenone’s Niall McKeever having already left to pursue his full-time career in Australian Rules, Bradley could find himself short on midfield options.
However, Brendan Herron is expected to return and will be a candidate for the engine-room while Michael McCann may revert to the middle having played at full-forward in this year’s championship.
Antrim officials believe that the recent trawl to unearth fresh talent will reap benefits in the near future.
“The management had an opportunity to assess some 68 players and would feel that upwards on maybe 20 of these might have something to offer. We must wait and see how St Gall’s get on in their Ulster final.
“We would be very keen that Tomas McCann would remain here with us but that is a decision that only he can make,” points out liaison officer Tony McCollum.
Meanwhile, Antrim chairman John McSparran is hopeful that the motion to be presented to Congress next year urging no relegation from the All-Ireland Hurling Championship for the foreseeable future will be carried.
McSparran has already made the Croke Park authorities aware of Antrim’s views and has garnered the support of other counties.
Tonight McSparran will give a talk on ‘Gaelic games in the Glens of Antrim’ under the auspices of the Glens of Antrim Historical Society at St Mary’s Parish Centre, Cushendall (8.30pm).