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Skipper Neal McAuley braced for battle against Carlow

By John Campbell

Skipper Neal McAuley's prediction that his Antrim side might encounter difficulty in gaining promotion to Division 1B of the Allianz Hurling League has been given added resonance following their defeat to Westmeath last weekend.

Having earlier claimed the scalps of Derry and Kildare, PJ O'Mullan's side had been optimistic of landing a hat-trick of wins but now the pressure is on the Ulster champions ahead of tomorrow's showdown with upbeat Carlow at Ballycastle.

McAuley admitted: "It's going to be extremely tight to get out of this division. We have to show respect to every team. Our plan will be to try and get two points but it's difficult as a lot of the teams are of a similar ability."

Carlow will come to the north coast locked on four points with their hosts and sharing their rampant desire for a further brace that could maintain a concerted promotion drive.

If Antrim have a sharp appetite for progress, then Derry are desperate to see an upsurge in their fortunes following defeats against the Saffrons, Westmeath and Carlow.

Manager Tom McLean is hoping that a ray of sunshine can filter through the gloom when London, who have lost once to date, visit Celtic Park tomorrow.

Armagh, meanwhile, will seek to better their lot in Division 2B when they host Meath at the Athletic Grounds where Ryan Gaffney, Declan Coulter, Conor Corvan, Cathal Carvill and John Corvan could prove key figures.

And Michael Johnston wants Down to atone for their slip-up last weekend by defeating Donegal in Letterkenny.

Belfast Telegraph


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