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Gleeson eager for Antrim to seal a place at top table

 

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Darren Gleeson

Darren Gleeson

Darren Gleeson

Antrim may have beaten Kerry when the sides met in Division 2A of the Allianz Hurling League earlier this year, but manager Darren Gleeson insists that victory on that occasion will certainly not breed any complacency ahead of tomorrow's divisional final between the sides at O'Connor Park, Tullamore (1.30pm).

With a place in Division One at stake, both teams are focused on joining the elite. For Antrim in particular, a place in the top bracket would not only serve as a boost for the sport in the county but would also provide a shot in the arm at provincial level.

Gleeson's team is a fusion of youth and experience - something that proved a potent mix earlier in the year when they charted a steady course through the early stages of the league.

"It's great to be in this final, but now that we are here we want to win it. The only way a team becomes better is by playing against top-quality opposition and that's something that you will encounter in Division One," insisted Gleeson.

Neil McManus, Eoghan Campbell, James McNaughton and skipper Conor McCann lend the experienced edge to his team, while players like Aodhan O'Brien and Eoin O'Neill have been coming through strongly this year.

Meanwhile, the Antrim Under-20 hurling side will meet Down in a Leinster Championship qualifier at Ballycran today (2pm).

Both teams have unearthed a raft of fresh talent recently, with the Saffrons appearing to have enviable riches at this level.

Manager Karl McKeegan certainly has faith in players such as Seaan Elliott, Niall O'Connor, Niall McCormick and Conal Bohill.

In the Ulster Ladies Senior Football Championship semi-final, Armagh will take on neighbours Tyrone at Crossmaglen today (2pm).

Even though both camps have been affected by Covid-19, the respective managers Ronan Murphy and Gerry Moane can still field teams that are laced with experienced players.

Armagh boss Murphy maintains that his team are particularly keen to win the Ulster title, while his Tyrone counterpart Moane is more than anxious to see his side reach what would be their first provincial decider since 2013.

Belfast Telegraph