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Return of Watson is the key to success for Saffrons

By John Campbell

Antrim hurling boss PJ O'Mullan sees the return of Liam Watson to top-flight action as a key element in his team's bid to gain promotion in the Allianz League.

O'Mullan had no hesitation in ending Watson's three-year exile as soon as he was appointed and it's a decision which has already been vindicated.

With back-to-back wins over UCD in the Walsh Cup and Down in the Conor McGurk Tournament Final, Antrim will head off at the weekend to play Cork and UCC in what O'Mullan describes as "very important challenge games" as a precursor to the side's opening league game against Derry on February 14.

"There is absolutely no doubt that Liam Watson's impact in the side has been immense this month to date and this suggests that he can continue to do the business for us," said O'Mullan.

"He didn't play for Antrim during Kevin Ryan's tenure, but I've always felt he had a great deal to offer and this is being proved right now. Let's just say he's scoring for fun and is certainly enjoying his hurling."

"This is also helping to rub off on the other players and I must say I am pleased with the spirit that abounds within the squad. Our aim is to ferment this even more over the coming weeks."

The Saffrons will play UCC on Saturday morning (11.30am) and will then face the full Cork side that afternoon (2.30pm).

"Cork and UCC will be two very important challenge games as far as we are concerned. These are the kind of teams you need to be playing against if you are to improve your own standards. Naturally our goal is to try and get back up into Division One again but that won't be easy," added O'Mullan.

Belfast Telegraph


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