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Antrim ready to regain ground after their fall

By John Campbell

Dominic McKinley, part of the four-man management team entrusted with the task of rekindling Antrim’s hurling credibility, welcomes the calm after the storm.

Now that a level of stability has been restored, McKinley, along with his management colleagues Terence ‘Sambo’ McNaughton, Neal Pedan and Gary O’Kane, is determined to see the Saffrons regain some lost ground starting with the Christy Ring Cup tie against Kildare at Parnell Park, Dublin tomorrow (1.00pm).

 “Obviously there has been upheaval in the county lately but now we just want to get back to playing hurling and winning games,” stresses McKinley, “There is a good attitude within the squad and there is a feeling that we can maybe do something in the Christy Ring Cup.”

Eddie McCloskey and Paul Shiels will be absentees from tomorrow’s line-up because of injury while Neil McManus has already committed himself to the San Francisco club and is thus ineligible, while Aaron Graffin is undertaking global travel.

“But we are very fortunate that we still have a lot of good players on board. Boys like Neal McAuley, Ryan McCambridge, Eoin Campbell, the Johnston brothers Conor and Ciaran, Conor McKinley and Ciaran Clarke can show the way,” said McKinley.

When Antrim met Kildare in the league earlier in the year they won by 3-25 to 3-13 but the fact that a high score was conceded on that occasion is a source of concern to McKinley going into Saturday’s game.

“We were maybe a bit slack at the back on that occasion and we know that we have to tighten up this time round. It’s important that we get a performance from the team so that we can move on and build from there,” he added.

“The Christy Ring Cup is the second tier of the All-Ireland series and as such has to be treated with the utmost respect.”

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