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Saffrons get down to business by following Dubs example

By Declan Bogue

Published 05/10/2016

Antrim manager Terence Sambo McNaughton
Antrim manager Terence Sambo McNaughton

Some time ago Dunloy and Antrim GAA die-hard Tony Shivers walked into the offices of Legacy Consultants, the sports and entertainment agency of which Dublin ace Bernard Brogan is the Commercial Director.

He was there to meet Bernard's cousin, Managing Director James Brogan, for advice on how Antrim could be a little more like the Dubs.

Right now, the contrast could not be more stark to the naked eye. Antrim football has made incremental progress over the last 12 months, but the lack of Championship victories are what supporters ruminate on over the winter.

On the hurling side the Saffrons have lost their identity. The new management, headed up by Terence McNaughton, fully admit they are starting from scratch again.

Earlier this week Shivers recalled: "I had studied the Dublin model with AIG and the other companies. I thought, 'if we were getting everything right with Antrim, we could go to the right people and they would know where the money was spent, where it was used'."

The result of this is the Saffron Business Forum. They will be hosting an event this Friday night at the Malone Lodge Hotel (beginning at 7.30pm for any other business or interested parties to attend), where they are expecting a minimum of 75 businesses, all with a view to supporting Gaelic games in Antrim.

Already they have made their presence felt. The hurling Club Championship is sponsored by Bathshack. The football Championship is supported by Northern Switchgear.

Shivers added: "Having studied the Dublin model, while we are not Dublin, we are allowed to dream, and this is the first step on the path of catching up."

Complementing their progress is the grand opening of Dunsilly, Antrim's dedicated training ground, on October 15, when Director-General Paraic Duffy will be present.

Further details to follow.

Belfast Telegraph

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