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The future looks bright for Antrim: Patrick McBride

By John Campbell

Top Antrim forward Patrick McBride believes that the Ulster minor club tournament currently being staged at the St Paul's complex in west Belfast will prove the breeding ground for a platoon of fresh provincial talent.

McBride, having renewed his commitment to the Saffrons following a summer sojourn in the United States, is convinced that his own county in particular can benefit from the competition and sees today's quarter-final between St Enda's, Glengormley and Enniskillen Gaels as a shop window for aspiring starlets.

"When you look at the players who have performed for Antrim at minor and Under-21 level lately, you can see the quality that is beginning to come through," pointed out McBride.

"I think this game will give a further insight into the kind of talent there is in Antrim. A lot of work is being done at under-age level and even though silverware is not always being won, that doesn't mean that progress is not being made."

The St Enda's club have laid particular emphasis on their under-age structures and now hope to reap the benefits.

And McBride, desperately anxious to see Antrim emerge from Division Four of the Allianz League in 2016, is urging younger players to commit themselves to their clubs so that the county can benefit from their skills.

"When you look at the Antrim Under-21 side you see players like Ronan McGrady, Ronan Hanna and others that came through strongly and players like these should be the benchmark for the current minors," said McBride.

"If you go back to this summer when Antrim beat Laois in the All-Ireland qualifiers you will see that it was the younger players who helped to set the tone for what was viewed as a shock win."

St Enda's club officials remain quietly confident that their team can make an impact in the Ulster club tournament.

St Enda's management spokesman Thomas McNulty declared: "I think we've a very good chance. I've watched Crossmaglen, Slaughtneil and Rostrevor and we're not too far off so I think we'll be there or thereabouts."

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