Antrim must break clear of nearly tag against Westmeath

By Michael McMullan

ANOTHER week has moved on, yet the same synopsis of Antrim’s first season under Andy McEntee remains ahead of Sunday’s trip to Westmeath.

‘If’ is a small word, yet it’s massive. The Saffrons had all eight league points up grabs in their sights, they the two eased from Thurles remain the only ones beside their name.

Peter Healey’s 50th-minute goal had Antrim eight points clear against Fermanagh, 3-7 to 0-8, yet they were left with nothing only sheer dejection at Corrigan Park on Saturday.

It was the same venue they spurned two goal chances on the opening day that saw they come short against Offaly and left the Antrim boss a desolate character as he addressed the assembled media minutes later.

Time is now running out and Antrim will also start looking over their shoulders at Tipperary and Longford below them, with the latter having two of their remaining three games at home.

While they will hoping for favours elsewhere, their Division Three status still remains under their own control.

Antrim make the trek to Mullingar this weekend needing to take something out of the game to turn their season of near misses into the victory much of play deserves.

Westmeath will have a lot to play for too having thrown away a match-winning position against Down last Saturday. Something Antrim know about all too well after their trip to Newry.

The Tailteann Cup champions will pose a serious threat this weekend, but Andy McEntee will know them – and round seven opponents Longford – inside out from his time steering the Royals’ ship.

Antrim’s only clean sheet to date has been in their win over Tipperary and they’ll need to be more defensively compact this weekend if they are to ask questions of Westmeath.

Kevin Small and Conor Stewart will have to do their bit at midfield to get a foothold in the game.

The Antrim attack will ask plenty of questions if they get their hands on the ball. Pat Shivers and Aghagallon’s Ruairi McCann are hard to work with. Add in Odhran Eastwood and his eye for goal.

The message at Dunsilly this week will be simple.

It’s time to translate performances into results. It’s the only currency with any clout over the next month.

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