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Adams says Antrim can build early momentum

By John Campbell

Gearoid Adams is aiming for a competitive debut victory as Antrim joint manager when his side face Derry in the opening round of the Dr McKenna Cup.

Adams and new Oak Leaf boss Damien Barton will take their bow on the touchline at Owenbeg on Sunday conscious that an early victory could provide the precursor to an encouraging run in the early-season competition.

Barton enters the game on the back of an 11-point defeat against Tyrone in the O'Fiaich Cup semi-final and has since admitted that his side has much work to do.

Adams on the other hand is convinced that a squad which is showing commitment and endeavour can bring Antrim out of the doldrums.

"I think the important thing is that we have players who are committed to the jersey," stated Adams, who served the county for over a decade as a player.

"They are putting in a huge effort and we feel we have a decent mix of youth and experience. The important thing is that we get cohesion and fluency as soon as we can but obviously Derry will be strongly focused on making up for that loss against Tyrone."

In tandem with Frank Fitzsimons, Adams has been overseeing a concerted spell of pre-season training that has fostered a fresh spirit within the Saffrons camp.

"We have boys like Michael McCann back in there now and that is very encouraging," said Adams.

"It's important to have experienced heads that can set the template. Our prime target in 2016 will be to get out of Division Four but firstly we must focus our energies on getting some decent results in the McKenna Cup.

"This will serve as a barometer for the league and will also help to breed confidence. I think that there are quality players in Antrim and now the challenge for us as management is to bring out the best in these guys."

Antrim are also due to meet Tyrone and Queen's in Section A.

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