NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION THREE
Louth v Antrim
Sunday, Ardee, 2pm
By Michael McMullan
ANTRIM Director of Football Gearoid Adams is happy the Saffrons have their promotion hopes ‘in their hands’.
In a division where two points separate first and sixth place, Antrim are ahead of Louth on score difference at the top.
Adams said Antrim have been playing really well since the blip at home to Limerick when conceding two early goals left them too much to do.
“Even against Laois, they were unlucky not to get the two points,” Adams said. “It is in their hands now, so if they get the job done on Sunday against Louth they can write their own way into Division Two.”
The former joint-manager, along with Frank Fitzsimons, points to the commitment of the players being key to their progress.
“The secret has always been to get the players committed and that seems to be what Enda (McGinley) and the rest of the boys have done,” he said.
“Even at the start of the year, I was looking and few of the boys had fallen away and they were good players, but Enda has done a great job in replacing those boys.”
Adams was impressed with their 1-19 to 0-12 win over Longford in a division that contains teams Antrim are familiar with.
“Longford would always have been a difficult one and that was the most comprehensive victory in a long while,” he said.
This weekend, Antrim will have to get a handle on Sam Mulroy who has amassed 2-35 (2-4 from play) this season, with impact sub Ciaran Byrne adding 1-7.
“They always seem to mirror each other’s paths,” said Adams of Antrim and Louth’s recent progress.
“It is always tight and the fact it is down there (in Ardee) on Sunday.”
Ten players have started all of Antrim’s five league games to date, while Jamie Gribbon and Kevin Small have only been outside the starting 15 once.
“The secret, and it’s reading between the lines, this year has been they are not afraid to make big decisions,” said Adams.
“Conor Murray didn’t start a few games and he has come back with a bit of form. McBride (Paddy) is injured now and hopefully he’ll be back after his injury, so hopefully they’ll have a good panel there.”
There has been a decent spread of scorers across the team with Ruairi McCann (0-16), Ryan Murray (0-15), Conor Murray (2-9), Odhrán Eastwood (1-11) and Tomás McCann (1-10) their chief scorers.
Goalkeeper Oisin Kerr, Ricky Johnston and James Laverty have been the constant spine of the team.
“They seem to have a good structure, based around Mick (McCann) and other good players there who can make the ball do the work, so.
“The competition for players always makes a team eager and when you are winning you are in a good place and the manager is always doing the right thing. So far, so good.”
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