Antrim manager Dinny Cahill will be missing some key players for tomorrow’s All Ireland Hurling Championship qualifier against Carlow at Casement Park, Belfast (5.00).
Joey Scullion, Aaron Graffin and Neil McAuley will be absentees but Cahill believes that last Sunday’s Ulster final victory over Down will prove the spur that could take his side further down the qualifier road.
“I would like to think that we can replicate this form against Carlow. They beat Laois last weekend and that should serve as a warning to us because Laois are a decent team,” says Cahill.
Laois manager Niall Rigney resigned after that defeat.
Liam Watson’s return to the Antrim squad coupled with the artistry of Neil McManus is helping to underpin the attack while players like Cormac Donnelly, P J O’Connell, Shane McNaughton and skipper Paul Shiels bring a youthful vibrancy to the team.
Shiels, the 21-year-old Dunloy clubman, is revelling in his role as skipper.
“It’s good that we have home advantage against Carlow,” he said. “This means we will be playing in front of our own fans for the second week in succession and that should be a big help to us.”
Armagh will meet London in the Nicky Rackard Cup final (2.00).
Meanwhile, the GAA are to address the escalating amount of live broadcasts in a bid to arrest falling attendances ahead of the next round of negotiations with their TV partners.
Championship attendances have dwindled and Director General Paraic Duffy said: “The present TV contract runs out this year and as part of any new deal, we'll be looking at the number of games. I don't think it's far away. I've said before that maybe we've too many games live.”