Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

O'Boyle sure Antrim are on right track

Antrim captain Kevin O'Boyle is rallying his squad

Antrim skipper Kevin O'Boyle has issued a call to arms to his team ahead of their Ulster Championship clash with Monaghan at Casement Park on June 9.

O'Boyle is working in tandem with manager Frank Dawson in nurturing morale following the axing of his Cargin club colleagues Tómas McCann and his brother Michael along with Tony Scullion from the Saffrons squad.

The Antrim footballers now carry the flag for the county in the championship arena overall following the surprise demise of the hurlers who fell to Laois in the Leinster championship at the week-end.

"We have to move forward," insists schoolteacher O'Boyle.

"We went into the league hoping to get promotion from Division Three and things looked good at the start, but then we lost our way. Since then the panel has been amended and now the total focus is on this match against Monaghan."

While the axing of the McCann brothers and Scullion left a sour taste, O'Boyle believes that there is a very positive outlook within the squad.

"The panel has been amended and things have been freshened up," he said.

"The league is over and done with and we just have to make sure that we are ready for Monaghan. I am urging all the players to give this match 100 per cent effort. If they do then we have to be in with a good chance."

Manager Dawson has shipped criticism following the circumstances that led to the Cargin club trio being culled, but he believes that "the greater good" of Antrim football comes first.

"It's about the team, it's not about individuals," said Dawson.

"This game against Monaghan is the only element on our radar. We know we are capable of winning it even though Monaghan gained promotion to Division Three.

"The greater good of Antrim football will be served if we can come out on top."

While O'Boyle and Dawson work to bolster Antrim morale, Monaghan manager Malachy O'Rourke is urging his side to show an improvement on their league form when they embark on their Championship campaign.

"While we were very happy to win promotion and then land the Division Three trophy, this is some way removed from championship success," he said.

"We are now reaching the real business end of the season and that's why we have to be even more on our toes."

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