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Saffrons chief calling for injection of positivity

By John Campbell

Published 21/08/2015

Outgoing Antrim manager Kevin Ryan
Outgoing Antrim manager Kevin Ryan

With outgoing Antrim manager Kevin Ryan describing tomorrow's All-Ireland Under-21 hurling semi-final at Semple Stadium, Thurles as "a nuisance" in one sense, county board chairman Jim Murray's call for an end to "depressing negativity" has assumed added significance.

Ryan, clearly annoyed at the lack of enthusiasm on the part of many within the county for the game, believes his side will suffer humiliation at the hands of Wexford and Murray has been quick to try and highlight the plight in which the county finds itself while at the same time urging a more positive approach.

With training sessions cancelled, apathy rife within the squad, lack of proper backing from the county board and the not inconsiderable fact that Wexford beat Kilkenny by a 17-point margin in the Leinster final, Antrim's preparations could hardly be more fragmented.

Murray, due to step down from his post when his five-year term ends in December, believes that the drive to find a new manager and plan for 2016 should be undertaken "with positives in mind".

He said: "There is a process that has to be followed but when the next county board meeting is held, I would like to think that business will be conducted with positives in mind. I think it's time we rid ourselves of the depressing negativity that we have been experiencing of late and try and bring Antrim forward."

Two years ago, Antrim got the better of Wexford in the All-Ireland semi-final and while a repeat of that might appear remote, the Saffrons have several players who can take a stand against their opponents.

The Johnson brothers, Ciaran and Conor, Tomas Ó Ciáran, Patrick McBride, Saul McCaughan, James Connolly and Niall McKenna are among those capable of taking the fight to Wexford.

Belfast Telegraph

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