Miserable end to futile campaign for Saffrons

Thursday, 26 January 2017


WHEN Antrim reflect on their Dr McKenna Cup campaign there can very little positivity taken from it, writes Jim Smyth. Designed primarily by joint managers Gearoid Adams and Frank Fitzsimmons to blood new players it is hard to see exactly, if anything they have achieved.
At least they stuck to their policy throughout, fielding very nearly the same young side in all three of their games, but it is hard to see where they are after their third and final game against Fermanagh at Brewster Park.
Beaten out of sight by the Erne men on the heels of a similar thumping a few days earlier at the hand of Monaghan their spirits must be at rock bottom. Add to that the one point loss to the students from St Mary's University College in their opening game and you have players questioning their own ability, hardly the proper preparation for the upcoming National football league campaign which comes up shortly. Away to Tipperary on February 5 and with sides like Armagh, Longford, Offaly, Sligo and Laois in the same Division Three league, they will be lucky if they manage to avoid relegation. And what a dreadful state of affairs that is after gaining promotion just months ago.
Management and players, including their 'new finds' look like having to face a bleak future and then the prospect of running up against Donegal in the championship, at this time must appear a task well beyond their capabilities.
Building some sort of confidence in the few weeks left to the National league must be their top priority but how they are going to do that seems an almost impossibility. With a number of the old hands now gone this looks like a year when wearing the Saffron jersey will be a daunting one.


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