Kerr: Antrim are on a revenge mission

By Shaun Casey

CHRIS Kerr was an interested spectator last season when Antrim took on Down at Páirc Esler, Newry, in round two of the National League and despite being the best team for the guts of 70 minutes, travelled back home with nothing to show for their efforts.

A late flurry of 1-4 on the trot, including the all-important goal from Conor Poland, saw the home side snatch an unlikely one-point win on their way to finishing third in the Division Three table, while Antrim ended up just above the relegation zone.

“Any time any teams in Ulster come up against each other, where they are in the league and how they;re going always seems to go out the window,” said the former Saffron goalkeeper on the Gaelic Lives Podcast.

“Last year Down got that kick with (Conor) Laverty coming in and obviously Andy (McEntee) had come in with Antrim, with a packed house in Newry under lights, I was expecting more from Down.

“But Antrim were very good, I thought they were the better team. Both teams struggled with the high ball and that was Antrim’s downfall so it might be something they both look at this week again to get some joy.”

Kerr hopes that Antrim can learn from the harsh lessons of 12 months ago and already in 2024, they look to be in a better position. McEntee’s side have gathered two wins from their two league outings, seeing off both Limerick and Offaly.

“I think last year, they were ahead a lot in nearly every game in the league. They were maybe seven or eight points up and were still pipped at the post with one-point and two-point losses,” added Kerr.

“Sooner or later, you have to kick on and they have to turn them into wins. In the last round they went down to 14 men against Offaly, and in Corrigan Park, there’s always a hurricane of a breeze coming down it.

“Tthey were against the breeze, but they still held on for that one-point win whereas maybe before they could have just coughed up the points or even finished in a draw. But now, they’re going into this game two from two.”

Kerr praised McEntee’s role in pushing Antrim towards a promotion place, given the number of injuries his side currently have.

“Justy (McMahon) coming in (as part of the management team) is a big boost. Just his presence and the aura he brings from what he’s done as a player. They’re missing players too like Eoghan McCabe, Peter Healy, Ryan Murray, Ruairi McCann, he caused havoc in Newry last year.

“Andy’s done well and the response he’s got from the team has been great considering there’s maybe eight or nine boys there that in my eyes would come straight back into the team. He seems to have added that bit of steeliness to them.”

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