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Tony Scullion urging Antrim to aim higher

By John Campbell

Long-serving Antrim defender Tony Scullion chose a novel way to limber up for the resumption of Allianz Football League action.

The 30-year-old Cargin clubman, who runs his own thriving building business, took to the ski slopes of Andorra, returning just a few days before the Saffrons went into action against Waterford last Sunday.

Scullion's energy and drive had much to do with his team's handsome win but he dismisses any notion that the result could herald a concerted push for promotion as he prepares for tomorrow's trip to pointless Carlow.

"Of course, we would all like to think that but let's be sensible," states the straight-talking veteran.

"We have won one game out of three – does that sound like the kind of form that merits a place in Division Three?

"But I tell you this. If we can beat Carlow and Tipperary in our next two games then I think we will have grounds for thinking about trying to move up a division."

Scullion has experienced his share of highs and lows during his Antrim career having played in the 2009 Ulster final against Tyrone and been on the receiving end of league setbacks that on occasions utterly demoralised the squad.

Yet even though Leitrim and Wicklow have rather surprisingly got the better of Antrim since the league started, Scullion believes that manager Liam Bradley can still come up with a formula that could bring progress.

"I was delighted with the way we won against Waterford not just because we racked up a big score (1-16) but because boys like Sean McVeigh and Kevin Niblock came on and gave us a bit of experience and craft as well as physical power," added Scullion.

"These are the kind of qualities and strengths you need if we are seriously thinking about moving up a division."

Carlow may be floundering in the league just now but Tipperary in contrast are tucked in behind Clare in second place having remained unbeaten to date with five points out of a possible six.

"Even though Carlow have still to get their first win that will make them very dangerous," insists Scullion.

"We are looking no further than tomorrow's match and the task ahead.

"There is a great hunger and desire within this Antrim side to get out of Division Four.

"To tell you the truth it is not pleasant playing in matches that are devoid of drama and atmosphere and in which the standard tends to be mediocre to say the least. Division Four football is for nothing.

"We want to challenge ourselves but the only way we can do that is by pitting ourselves against better quality opposition.

"You have to earn that right and this means that March could be a defining month for us.

"We don't want to be entering the Ulster championship burdened by the knowledge that we could have done better in the league."

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