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Darren Gleeson urges Antrim to maintain high level and keep up the pressure in Joe McDonagh Cup quest


Antrim’s Conal Cunning. Credit: INPHO/Evan Treacy

Antrim’s Conal Cunning. Credit: INPHO/Evan Treacy

©INPHO/Evan Treacy

Antrim’s Conal Cunning. Credit: INPHO/Evan Treacy

Antrim may have secured their place in the Joe McDonagh Cup final but manager Darren Gleeson is anxious that his side should maintain their momentum when they confront Kerry at Corrigan Park today (1pm).

The Saffrons are unbeaten to date in the competition and Gleeson is strongly focussed on ensuring that his players make it five wins on the trot this afternoon.

“We knew that if we beat Meath last week-end we would earn a place in the final but we don’t want to take our foot of the pedal now. Kerry can be difficult opponents and we must replicate the form we have been showing of late,” points out Gleeson.

Conal Cunning, James McNaughton, Seaan Elliott and Conor McCann are in sparkling form in the Antrim attack just now and defender Paddy Burke contributed two goals in the defeat of Meath to join the impressive list of eleven scorers for his team.

But Down will be on a rather different mission this afternoon when they face Meath at Ballycran (1pm) in what in essence is a relegation shoot-out.

Ronan Sheehan’s side have been unable to achieve the level of consistency they would have liked and will be hoping for an upsurge in their fortunes against a Meath side that has struggled of late. Assuming players such as Paul Sheehan, Marc Fisher, Daithi Sands and Conor Woods are in shooting form, Down might just discover a crumb of comfort in this one.

In today’s Ulster Minor Football Championship semi-finals Cavan will meet Derry at the Athletic Grounds (5pm) while Donegal and Tyrone will lock horns at Celtic Park, Derry (7pm).

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Derry manager Martin Boyle is hoping his team can build on the fine form they have shown to date but acknowledges that Cavan will be difficult opponents.

“We will have to be on our toes for this one. Cavan were impressive in the Under-20 championship and their minors will hope to follow suit. It could maybe prove to be a very tight contest in the end,” points out Boyle.

Tyrone boss Gerry Donnelly, meanwhile, is aware that Donegal will prove formidable opponents in the other ‘semi’. The Red Hands have turned in some impressive displays but Donegal manager Luke Barrett has welded together a cohesive, competitive side that is likely to prove a difficult obstacle for Donnelly’s lads.

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