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Antrim are fired up for promotion shoot-out

By John Campbell

Antrim football boss Frank Fitzsimmons does not see himself as a soothsayer but a recent prediction in relation to his team's progress in Division Four of the Allianz Football League proves that he is very much on the ball.

The popular Frank suggested earlier this month that an Antrim v Offaly promotion shoot-out was on the cards even when his side still had difficult bridges to cross.

And sure enough that's precisely what will take place in Tullamore on Sunday.

"I had the feeling that this match would determine our future and so it is to be," insists the Saffrons manager.

"It's a winner take all situation but we will be up for the challenge.

"We have made things a wee bit difficult for ourselves in some games but we are now within striking distance of Division Three and it's up to us to make the most of the opportunity that has come our way."

When Antrim collected only one point out of a possible four in their opening two league games, promotion hopes were all but dispelled.

But a Fitzsimmons plea for patience was answered in emphatic style and his side are now preparing for what one county board official describes as "our All-Ireland final".

Longford, to whom Antrim succumbed by a point in their only defeat in the competition to date, are already promoted and now it's down to the wire as Antrim prepare to take on an Offaly side currently bracketed on nine points along with them.

"Offaly are a very decent side with some quality players," added Fitzsimmons.

"They will have home advantage and probably good support but we have shown that we can meet challenges head-on and I will be looking to the boys to do exactly this on Sunday.

"We have experienced heads in our side that can set an example for the rest of the guys."

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