Antrim not taking London lightly says Declan Lynch

By Shaun Casey

LONDON haven’t really been on Antrim’s radar over the past couple of seasons but to progress through to the last eight of the Tailteann Cup, the Saffrons are going to have to overcome the Exiles this weekend.

In fact, Antrim haven’t come up against the London since 2020, when the sides clashed in round three of Division Four in the league, which the Ulster side won by four points, 0-14 to 0-10, in Ruislip.

But Antrim’s Declan Lynch insists Andy McEntee’s men are in no position to underestimate Sunday’s opponents, especially given London’s first round victory over Offaly just a few weeks ago.

“It’s hard to know what to expect because obviously they’ve competed in Division Four, so we haven’t played them in a number of years,” said the experienced Antrim defender. “They have a turnover of players every year, so you really don’t know what you’re getting

“But they’ve come out of their group, and we’ll have to respect them absolutely because we’re Antrim, we’re not Kerry or Dublin. We have to respect every team and every team in this competition are on a par with each other.

“We won’t underestimate them because obviously Offaly went in thinking they were going to get a comfortable two points and they were shocked. I actually watched a good bit of the Offaly and Down game; Offaly have something about them.”

By the same token, Lynch is confident that if the Saffrons play to their potential, they’ll book their spot in the last eight for a second successive year.

“A lot of their (Offaly’s) u-20s that won the All-Ireland were playing so that just shows how good of a result it was for London, but at the end of the day it’s on us, the pressure’s on us this week, we have to win and I’m pretty confident that we will win.

“That’s not in an arrogant way, it’s just that I believe in the squad and we’re very disappointed with the result on Sunday (a draw with Sligo) to be honest. In a way you’re happy that you’re back out again, but we could have done with a week off.”

While Antrim’s 0-20 apiece draw with Sligo wasn’t enough to see them claim top spot, it did keep their unbeaten run intact and the Saffron men are motoring nicely in the second-tier competition.

They enjoyed good wins over both Wexford and Tipperary before earning a share of the spoils with Tony McEntee’s side and they’ll be keen to at least get back to the same stage as last year when they reached Croke Park and the Tailteann Cup semi-finals.

“The mood in the camp is positive now, we were a bit down beat after Sunday because I thought we’d nearly done enough to get over the line, but we’re still unbeaten, it just makes the route a little bit harder and a little bit longer.

“We’re unbeaten in three games on the bounce and we have to take some sort of positives from that. On Sunday we went five down and teams in the past may have just thrown the towel in, but we showed the character that’s in the squad.”

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