When Antrim turned on style at the Allianz Hurling League kick-off last Sunday to defeat the imaginative Carlow, they immediately forced other parties to sit up and pay attention.
And Nowhere has the Saffron’s unexpected coup been digested more thoroughly than in flinging Kilkenny, where Brian Cody’s accusations will pose an even greater threat to the Ulster side’s newfound credibility tomorrow. Suffice it to say, hardworking Cody who is now in his 23rd year as team principal, will do his homework in an Antrim cast that was boosted by the strength and vigor of manager Darren Gleeson.
When Antrim dropped Clares colors, he showed that they have the potential to exist in elite companies, but tomorrow their credentials are expected to be tested even more closely.
Ciaran Clarke, N eil McManus, Joe Maskey, Keelan Molloy and James McNaughton are among the players who bring firepower and scoring chance to the table to such an extent that the team’s newfound respect rests on solid foundations.
Though slinging fever the county has recorded again, manager Gleeson is only too well aware that more demanding challenges are in sight.
“And these challenges start with this game,” emphasized Gleeson. “We have to take a back seat to last week’s game and focus entirely on Kilkenny.” We know they want to build on their win against Dublin last weekend. “
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Martin Keoghan, JJ Reid, James Bergin and Padraig Walsh will all pose a significant threat to the cats. This means that the Antrim Defense must be prepared for a rigorous test of their skills, especially as the game progresses when Kilkenny is known for staying in power and indeed for looting victories in unlikely circumstances.
” We have to be on our toes right from the start. We just can’t allow Kilkenny to get their money’s worth because we know how devastating they can be, ”Antrim boss Gleeson warned.
Certainly Antrim can’t afford to watch the game – should Kilkenny see them Taking the initiative will prove difficult to contain.
The laurels, which would undoubtedly accompany a second shock in a row within a week, will surely provide sufficient incentive for Antrim to take the opportunity to try to climax Reach out.
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