Saffrons must offer response for visit of Dubs

By Michael McMullan

ANTRIM hurlers will have had a difficult week after Sunday’s heavy defeat at the hands of Limerick.

The Saffrons have little time to lick their wounds with Dublin coming to Corrigan Park on Sunday.

Both teams were a pale shadow of the respective teams from their final games of the 2023 season.

From Limerick’s All-Ireland final team, John Kiely had four on board. On the flip side, only Ryan McGarry, Niall O’Connor, Paddy Burke and Conal Cunning remained from the Antrim team who beat Westmeath to retain their Liam McCarthy status.

On top of Neil McManus calling time on his career, Domhnall Nugent and Joe Maskey stepped away. So too Dunloy’s quartet of Eoin O’Neill, Keelan Molloy, Seaan and Ryan Elliott.

But Sunday saw further changes with Gerard Walsh, Niall McKennna, Michael Bradley and Conorr Johnston also missing from Darren Gleeson’s list of options.

Antrim stuck to the last until late in the second quarter before Limerick pulled clear on their way to a facile win.

For Gleeson’s side, it was a tough day at the office but they’ll need a response in front of their home fans on Sunday.

Antrim face a team who will be looking to bounce back from defeat with the Dubs going down to Tipperary in round one.

With Cian O’Sullivan on song from frees, the Saffron defence must be disciplined in the tackle.

Sunday will be another uphill climb, but Dublin are not a Limerick and it’s up to Antrim to get in among their opponents early on.

If ever they need to tap into the Corrigan Park factor, this is the day. They’ve had some great performances on home soil in recent seasons.

Performance and pride will be the key words in the Antrim camp this week, the basic requirements of any team. In a season when so many players are unavailable, it’s transition once again. But Division One is not the stage for transition.

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