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Antrim survival mission needs fans' backing, says McKinley

By John Campbell

Antrim hurling team management dynamo Dominic McKinley knows all about high-pressure contests.

As a member of the Saffrons side that lost to a powerful Tipperary team in the 1989 All-Ireland decider, McKinley is conversant with demands which top-flight games can make on players.

30 years on the welfare of Antrim hurling remains close to his heart and that's why he is urging the county's followers to get behind the side when they confront high-flying Limerick in what is a must-win match at Cushendall on Sunday.

Antrim have lost to Galway, Dublin and Laois, and if they are to have any chance of avoiding a relegation shoot-out they must seek to trip up John Kiely's side, who may be under-strength because of Fitzgibbon Cup commitments.

"Obviously this match against Limerick is important for Antrim and we would like to see the players get as much vocal backing as possible," states McKinley.

"We knew going up into Division 1B was going to be tough and that's just how it has proved."

With Limerick and Galway looking certain to be two of the four teams from Division 1B that will join four from Division 1A in forming the overall quarter-finals line-up, McKinley does not expect Limerick to be dropping down a gear.

The two teams that finish at the bottom of Division 1B will take part in a relegation play-off.

"That's the way it is and we don't expect any favours from Limerick in the circumstances," adds McKinley.

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