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Antrim ace Healy helps plot major St Enda's bid for glory from Dublin

 

By John Campbell

When Antrim exited the Ulster championship at the hands of Down and then lost, rather surprisingly, to lowly Offaly in the All-Ireland qualifiers, Peter Healy thought that, to all intents and purposes, the curtain had come down on his 2018 season.

But the final year University College, Dublin student had not bargained for the stunning renaissance that his St Enda's, Glengormley were about to embrace.

When the north Belfast outfit cocked a snook at tradition by winning the Antrim intermediate football championship for the first time, they rightly claimed their place in the history books.

But now after wins over Monaghan champions Doohamlet and Tyrone representatives Tattyreagh in the Ulster club championship, St Enda's will go into Saturday week's final against Cavan outfit Mullahoran determined to execute the most unlikely of double coups.

Before then, though, Healy faces one of the most daunting periods of his career as he leads the St Enda's Dublin-based contingent in their training and preparation for the decider.

St Enda's manager Frank Fitzsimons, the former Antrim boss, is a long-time admirer of the all-action Healy and feels there is no better player to inspire the side.

"We have seven players either working or studying in Dublin and Peter is very much to the fore in their build-up to the game," reveals Fitzsimons.

"I could not ask for a better player to be calling the shots there. Peter gives his all in every game and never more so than in our win over Tattyreagh last Saturday."

The Dublin-based players have been undertaking their twice-weekly sessions there before returning to Belfast at the week-ends where they are put through their paces on Friday nights and Sunday mornings.

"I could not ask for more commitment from these lads," says Fitzsimons. "They have been giving it everything this year. I was so delighted for them when they won the Antrim title and now to be going into the Ulster final on Sunday week is a massive bonus for us."

"As well as being completely dedicated to their training, the players are willing to learn and this has contributed to the level of cohesion and togetherness within the side. Even boys who were injured were mad keen to get back and everyone wants to play a part against what is a very good Mullahoran side."

A St Enda's victory would be hailed as a significant shot in the arm for Antrim football, according to Fitzsimons.

"We would not say no to a win," he adds.

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