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Antrim may be without Niblock for crucial clash

By John Campbell

Antrim skipper Kevin Niblock is in danger of missing his team's most important match of the year to date.

Niblock, who pulls the strings in attack from centrethreequarters, sustained what joint-manager Gearoid Adams described as a "heavy knock" in the recent win over Waterford and could now be ruled out of Sunday's all-important trip to Wicklow, where the Saffrons could seal their place in Division Three for next term.

With fellow promotion hopefuls Wexford and Louth, who share second place, also due to clash on Sunday, the way could be smoothed for Antrim to take the big step-up.

But the possible absence of Niblock and the fact that Niall McKeever is now out for some weeks is a source of major concern to the Antrim management.

"Kevin and Niall are big players and we would be loath to lose both of them. Kevin took a heavy knock against Waterford and as an influential skipper he would be missed," said Adams.

"In addition, we have worries over Michael McCann and Ryan Murray. These are four players who provide us with a lot of experience and as everyone knows Aughrim is not a venue in which visiting teams derive comfort."

Antrim have remained unbeaten in five matches and clearly relish the chance to make the step-up to Division Three. But the physical nature of matches in Division Four has been taking its toll in terms of injuries.

"Players have been suffering knocks of varying degrees but this is the case with most county teams," pointed out Adams. "There is tremendous intensity in the league and you have to be on top of your game.

"The fact that we have not conceded a goal yet is another bonus. You have to keep your fingers crossed that you can win games without undue cost."

Belfast Telegraph


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