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Karl McKeegan enjoying a new lease of life in Cushendall

By John Campbell

Karl McKeegan hopes to come of age in Cushendall colours on Saturday.

The veteran utility player has his sights fixed on a starting place in the All-Ireland Club Hurling Championship semi-final against Galway and Connacht champions Sarsfields at Pairc Tailteann, Navan.

It has been 21 years since McKeegan made his debut for the club and he views the prospect of getting game time at All-Ireland level as a "massive bonus" at this stage of his career.

"It was great to get over Slaughtneil in the Ulster final and now we are at a higher level against a Sarsfields side filled with talented players," he said.

"All the boys know that they have to fight for their place. Nobody can take anything for granted but these are the kind of high-profile matches in which players want to be involved. This is a massive bonus for someone like me in particular."

McKeegan called time on an illustrious Antrim career three years ago and has been focused on helping Cushendall since.

"There are some fine players in this Cushendall set-up and we certainly fancy our chances of going further," said McKeegan.

"Slaughtneil are as good a side as we are likely to come up against and I think we took a lot from that victory over them. I believe we showed our character in both the Antrim and Ulster Club Championships but we will certainly need that in spades again.

"I have played on some teams that were totally dedicated and others that were just not as committed. But this Cushendall team is really dedicated. Everyone knows that they cannot afford to mess about or there will be someone else to take their place."

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