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Modern players must accept more responsibility, says McKinley

By Declan Bogue

In repeating his insistence that he will not be part of any Antrim management team next year, current joint-boss Dominic 'Woody' McKinley has spoken of his frustration with the 'modern-day player'.

"The modern-day player is harder to work with. You need to be about four different people in one," the 1989 All-Ireland finalist told the Belfast Telegraph.

"When you decide to become an Antrim hurler, or any kind of hurler now, the sacrifice is great. First of all, you need to decide if you want to do that or not.

"Some of them are maybe caught in between. The psychology and sports science and so on, I think if somebody came in to train them, and wasn't training them hard enough and was just telling them they are doing all the right things, then they would settle for that. Once that person leaves, they would use that as an excuse."

He added: "The bottom line is that you have got to answer the questions for yourself. That's where the answers lie. Jump up in the morning and look in the mirror.

"Those are the questions you need answered."

Antrim's odd season draws to a finish tomorrow in Owenbeg when they face somewhat surprise package Armagh in the Ulster final.

The season began with some promise after the appointment of Loughgiel's 2012 All-Ireland winning manager PJ O'Mullan, but a series of poor results in the National League led to his resignation prior to the Christy Ring Cup.

While McKinley joined Terence McNaughton and Neal Pedan in a caretaker-management team, he believes new energy is essential ahead of the 2017 calendar year.

"We need to get together again, re-energise, get a manager in place for the start of the year with a three-year plan and bring in nine or 10 young hurlers," he commented.

"We have to give them all the support we can.

"I don't think there is as big a mental barrier there as people think, especially if we were in and properly at it, working hard as a unit together.

"It's easy if something happens to us now to say, 'ah well, that's where they are at the moment'.

"But it is easy to say that. They would say it rather than getting involved.

"Things are not right and not good, but I would say that they are not a million miles away from coming into the second tier as they should be."

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