Antrim’s league status in their own hands

By Michael McMullan

IT all comes down to this. There are a few permutations that will come into play in the relegation zone but Andy McEntee’s side can only look after their own house.

Avoid defeat at home to Wicklow on Sunday and they Saffrons will remain in Division Three for a fourth season.

Should Antrim lose, all eyes will be on the scoreline from Tullamore where Offaly host an already relegated Limerick. The Faithful County are one point behind Antrim who would also have them on the head-to-head metric.

Antrim and Wicklow met three years ago at Corrigan Park when second-half goals from Conor Murray and Marc Jordan shot Antrim to a 2-10 to 1-7 win. Less than a handful of the Antrim team will be in contention when McEntee selects his side for Sunday.

Antrim were winners over Limerick and Offaly in their opening two games but have failed to register a point since, including a tough defeat at the hands of Down.

Wicklow were one-point winners against Limerick last weekend, 0-9 to 0-8, to get off the bottom of the table.

They have local Ulster knowledge in the form of manager Oisin McConville and his assistant Mark Doran, the current Sleacht Néill manager.

Kevin Quinn and Dean Healy were the key players for the Garden County.

Antrim trailed Clare 0-9 to 0-3 at one stage of last weekend’s defeat before they had midfielder Colm McLarnon sent off.

For the second week in a row, Paddy McBride was the main Antrim scorer but he is going to need support this weekend.

Antrim will have to hit the ground running to get the home side behind them to generate the energy they could feed off.

The trio of Dermot McAleese, Joseph Finnegan and Ronan Boyle behind midfield will be the platform they need to take the game to Wicklow.

For all their frustrations from four straight defeats, Antrim have their league safety in their own hands. It’s up to them to hold on for dear life.

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