Antrim travel south in search of a first victory

By Michael McMullan

ANTRIM hurlers make the trip to take on Westmeath in Mullingar on Saturday in search of their first league points of the season.

Before a ball was pucked this season, manager Darren Gleeson was facing into an uphill battle to qualify the Saffrons for Division One for 2025.

Ahead of the league restructure, Antrim needed to finish in the top three in the current Division 1B to book their place.

The top three teams in Division 1A also make the top league next season along with the best performing fourth-placed team between the two Division One sections.

If that wasn’t a big enough ask, Antrim’s task became almost impossible with the news of Neil McManus calling time on his county career.

Domhnall Nugent and Joe Maskey also stepped away with Dunloy quartet Eoin O’Neill, Kealan Molloy, Seaan and Ryan Elliott also unavailable.

Antrim lost heavily to both Limerick and Galway with their middle game a one-point defeat at the hands of Dublin who grabbed a fortuitous goal late on.

Their defeat at the hands of the Tribesmen ended any hope of making Division 1A next year.

Now, it’s time to eye victory in Westmeath who have yet to pick up any points.

It was 1-9 from Conal ‘Coby’ Cunning that helped Antrim to victory over Saturday’s opponents in last year’s Leinster Championship.

Paddy Burke, Niall McKenna and Eoghan Campbell have once again been key players for the side.

Westmeath have lost all of their games – with a more favourable score difference – and will possess the same focus on ending that losing streak.

Antrim know where their league journey will start next year but they’ll be hoping for victory ahead into their final game with Tipperary.

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