McEntee’s focus switches to Sligo trip

By Michael McMullan

ANTRIM’S hopes of launching a promotion bid will face a tough test on Sunday with a trip to Sligo.

The Saffrons won both their opening games before going under against Down last weekend in a game Conor Laverty’s side ran out 1-15 to 1-6 winners despite squandering a host of chances.

“When we put them (Down) under pressure, they were like anyone else,” summed up Antrim manager Andy McEntee (pictured) after Sunday’s defeat.

“We stepped off a little bit and the guys with real pace got through us a bit too easily.”

Looking ahead to Sunday in Markievicz Park, McEntee highlighted how the game-on-game nature of middle part of the league leaves little room for reflection.

After Sunday, Antrim will welcome promotion hopefuls Westmeath to Corrigan Park.

“That’s the great thing about this league, we can sit and home and feel sorry for ourselves about today (defeat to Down), but we’ve pretty much got to get focused straight away on next week,” he said of the Sligo game.

In many ways, Antrim are in a transition phase without the experience of like Paddy Cunningham, Michael and Tomás McCann.

Of the players who lined out against Meath in last season’s Tailteann Cup seven were unavailable on Sunday, including captain Peter Healy and Aghagallon’s Ruairi McCann who bagged 8-10 across 2023.

“It is probably a bit early for most of them,” McEntee said of the absentees. “We have what we have and we’ve just got to get on with it.

“In general the younger lads have fared well and they’ll learn from today.

“I think we counted 10 fellas who either played league or championship for us last year who are just not available to us for one reason or another.

“It’s a learning curve, a pretty steep learning curve. But some of the guys who came in have done really, really well but, ultimately, we weren’t good enough today. We’ve got to be better.”

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