Antrim hurlers have little time for soul-searching

By Michael McMullan

THERE is little time for soul-searching as Antrim hurlers prepare to take on Wexford this weekend as the Leinster Championship continues.

The Saffrons suffered a chastening 5-30 to 0-13 defeat at the hands of five-in-a-row chasing Kilkenny on Sunday in UPMC Nowlan Park.

Antrim will host Wexford this Saturday in Corrigan Park, a game that will be streamed live on GAAGO. The top two teams will face off in the championship, meaning Antrim are already behind the black ball.

If Antrim are going to stake a claim for third place and a slot in the All-Ireland race, this is their crunch game.

The Saffrons, via the Joe McDonagh Cup win, lost to Cork in the preliminary quarter-final in 2022.

Darren Gleeson’s side have also enjoyed big performances in the National League with many of the top Leinster sides.

Their problem has been not being able to regularly finish them off. There was a win over Clare in 2021 with a staggering 1-11 from Ciaran Clarke.

That same season Kealan Molloy’s late point earned a draw with Wexford.

The following year, it was Shaun Murphy’s penalty save from Neil McManus that saw Waterford escape with a two-point victory.

Antrim’s problem has been bringing it into the championship season and they’ll be hoping this year is a polar opposite.

With a raft of key players missing, the league was a tough spell before their return to bolster their options.

They’ll need to get a handle on Lee Chin and quash the Wexford kick-back. After leading Dublin last week, they were hit for two goals at the death as the away side earned a draw.

In terms of the layout of the group, this is a huge game and Antrim will be hoping their home comforts will be a help.

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