Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 27 November 2014

Offaly hard task for Antrim

Antrim will be hoping that success breeds success.

The footballers are guaranteed Division Three football next season, due in no small measure to the managerial skills of Liam Bradley.

On Sunday afternoon the hurlers face Offaly with promotion again the prize on offer.

But it’s a tall order asking them to overcome Offaly in Tullamore.

The Saffrons currently third in Division Two behind both Offaly and Wexford have had a mixed season to date.

Beating Wexford in Casement Park was a huge achievement, but their inability to build on that result might yet prove their undoing.

They certainly didn’t play like promotion hopefuls when carelessly dropping points to also-rans Carlow and Westmeath.

It’s that inability to kill off the so called weaker teams that must be so frustrating for the management team of Dominic McKinley and Sambo McNaughton.

Only one side gets promoted out of Division Two this season, the winner of the final featuring the top two on May 3 and there are still three counties in with a realistic chance of securing Division One hurling next season.

Wexford are currently second in the table and are expected to secure their place in the play off by beating Carlow on Sunday afternoon.

“Before the league began we could have been classed as the third placed team and rightly so,” said Sambo.

“We’re not expected to beat Offaly, but then that’s the way it’s always been with Antrim hurlers.

“But it’s a task we’re relishing for effectively it’s now in our own hands, We’re no longer depending on favours from elsewhere,” he said.

And yet it could al have been so different had the Saffrons not slipped up so dramatically when inexcusably dropping points against both Carlow and Westmeath.

Sunday will be a huge day for hurling in Antrim, but of even more importance will be the Leinster championship clash with Dublin that is fast approaching.

Victory then and all will be forgotten and forgiven.

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