Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport GAA Antrim

Murray confident of Antrim silverware

By John Campbell

Antrim chairman Jim Murray is urging followers throughout Ulster to get behind the county's bid to win the All-Ireland under-21 hurling title for the first time when they meet Clare in the final next month.

The Saffrons made history by beating Wexford (2-15 to 1-16) in Saturday's semi-final, a result that reverberated throughout the sport.

In the 46-year history of the under-21 championship no Ulster side has ever reached the final and Murray wants everything possible to be done to achieve what would be a landmark success for the county and province.

And he believes that the fresh mood of buoyancy within the Antrim camp augers well for the prospect of bringing home one of hurling's most coveted trophies.

"Now we're in the final for the first time the hope is that we can push on and win it," said Murray.

"We had 19 youngsters on duty against Wexford on Saturday but they returned north as men. They upstaged a strongly fancied Wexford side and in doing so gave the whole sport a shot in the arm."

Antrim had gone in as complete underdogs with pundits predicting a massacre.

In the event, with skipper Jackson McGreevey pulling the strings and hot-shot forwards Stephen McAfee and Ciaran Clarke harvesting scores, the Saffrons turned the form book upside down.

Murray is effusive in his praise for the part that Neil McManus and Barry McFall, along with Davy Simpson, have played to date as part of manager Kevin Ryan's back-up team.

"The input of this trio has been very important. Kevin has got the team playing to a certain formula now and it certainly worked on Saturday," he said.

But he accepts that the Saffrons will nevertheless be once again cast as underdogs for the decider.

"We were given no chance against Wexford but I suppose tradition dictated that anyway," admits Murray.

"Now that the whole complexion of the championship has changed we want to push and go the distance."

Captain McGreevey is already a member of manager Ryan's senior squad and his experience proved a bonus in the heat of the battle against Wexford.

"Jackson is very mature for his age and his ability to guide the side was very much in evidence on Saturday," explains Antrim PRO Brendan Mulgrew.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph