By Shaun Casey
A WIN over Carlow this weekend will secure Antrim’s place in the last four of the Division Four league, as they continue their push for promotion. They just missed out on a semi-final place last season so the Saffrons are determined to right those wrongs on Sunday.
Even if they suffer defeat at Davitt Park on Sunday, they are still in pole position to top the group due to their superior score difference, but manager Emma Kelly insists they are leaving nothing to chance.
“Obviously every game you play you want to win and that’s the way we’re looking at it.
“We want to win and then we’re not relying on anyone else to get us there,” said Kelly.
“Last year we missed out by the skin of our teeth to get to the semi-final, and we were very disappointed. This year, we’re remaining focused, and we have to do what we have to do to get across the line.
“It’s a massive game for us and another steppingstone, but we’ll go out and if everything goes to plan on the day, we’ll get across the line.”
Antrim have been in fine form of late, having overcome Ulster rivals Fermanagh along with London in the opening two rounds. That sets the Saffrons up well for a charge at promotion.
“Two out of two is what we wanted. Our aim is to get out of Division Four and we’ve a tick list that we need to go through and this weekend against Carlow is another step towards our goal.
“We’ll be going out on Sunday with the aim of winning and trying to get three out of three and toping the group and then we’ll take it from there.
“We’re looking forward to it. Our games against Carlow are always very exciting, exciting for the viewers and the neutral more so than myself! We’ve drawn the last couple of times, last year in the championship we went out and done the job pretty early on.
“But Carlow are looking good this year and they’re pushing on, so it’ll be a fresh start and there’s no point at looking at the last game, it’s always the next game.”
Even if things do go wrong this weekend, the huge scoring tally Kelly’s ladies put up against London should be enough to get them across the line should score difference come into play.
Antrim, who will be without injured pair Saoirse Tennyson and Lara Dahunsi this weekend, fired 9-19 past London in their massive 36-point victory two weeks ago.
“It was good for the full squad that everyone got the experience of the league, and you can only beat what’s in front of you.
“We set our stall out pretty early and went at London but they’re developing and it’s hard for them year in year out with different squad members.
“To us, we done the job and the scoreline is flattering but at the same time, if things do go wrong, that scorelines should help us,” added the Antrim boss.