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Saffrons welcome back key duo for trip to Dublin


By John Campbell

The anticipated return of Simon McCrory and Ciaran Clarke will offer Antrim fresh optimism ahead of their important Walsh Cup clash with Dublin at Parnell Park on Sunday (2pm).

The season has yet to engage first gear properly yet the Saffrons are faced with the prospect of incurring back-to-back defeats before the start of the league, something that their management team is particularly keen to avoid.

The Ulster champions were rather unfortunate to lose by a point to Meath at the weekend (1-17 to 0-19) but now there is greater resolve within the squad to chalk up their first win of the new campaign.

Dominic McKinley, whose son Conor was outstanding against Meath, confirms that the Saffrons will be "in a better place" for Sunday's contest.

"Apart from having Simon McCrory and Ciaran Clarke back in action we also expect to have John Dillon back in the panel on his return from the United States," states McKinley. "I believe we will be in a better place this weekend in selection terms."

With Eoin Campbell and Matthew Donnelly continuing their rehabilitation following injury, there is the strong possibility that the side will be along even more familiar lines for the league.

But McKinley and his management colleagues, Terence McNaughton, Gary O'Kane, Neal Pedan and Kevin Sheedy are focused on seeing the team come good against Dublin.

"Pat Gilroy, who formerly managed the Dublin football team, is their new hurling manager and we understand that a number of players have returned to the squad since his appointment," reveals McKinley, "This would suggest that they will have a better spirit and approach."

Eoin O'Neill and Neil McManus can help to put scores on the board for Antrim who will find that Dublin are extremely comfortable in the tight surroundings of Parnell Park.

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