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Conor McKinley fears Antrim fall

By John Campbell

Conor McKinley will continue to bridge a generation gap when he lines out for Antrim against Laois in a make or break Allianz Hurling League Division 1B tie at Armoy today.

The sturdy defender is currently a fixture in the Saffrons' defence just as his father Dominic was 25 years ago when the county reached the All-Ireland final only to fall victims to the wizardry of a Nicky English-inspired Tipperary side.

In the interim, Antrim have occasionally hinted at joining the hurling elite without crossing the threshold.

And now full-time hurling coach Dominic fears that Antrim could regress should they fall to Laois.

"The fact of the matter is that while we like to talk up Antrim hurling, two matches have been lost to date and a third consecutive defeat would be a big setback," said Dominic.

"This is a very competitive Division 1B with teams that are knocking on the door of the top tier.

"And while Antrim have been playing some good hurling lately they maybe have not been getting the rub of the green. They will certainly need that against Laois."

One of the foremost players of his era, Dominic is in no doubt as to what possible relegation would mean for Antrim.

"Let's face it, the gap between Division One and Division Two in the league is very wide, there's no doubt about that," said McKinley Snr.

"I would love to see Antrim up there in Division 1A along with the really big boys but equally I have to accept that they could make the drop into Division Two and that would not be good for the county or indeed for the sport here in Ulster."

Belfast Telegraph

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