Now's the best time to catch Antrim
IF there was ever a chance for Antrim’s monopoly of the Ulster Championship to end, it is this Sunday when Derry travel to Casement Park for the final.
There are a number of reasons for this. Derry are coming off a morale-boosting 11-point win over Down in the Ulster semi-final. Antrim are coming off a morale-sapping 32-point loss to Limerick in the All-Ireland qualifiers, the Treaty county’s biggest ever win in championship hurling.
The Oak Leaf camp has enjoyed a very steadying influence this year in the shape of manager Ger Rogan and his coaches Shane Elliot and Tom McLean while Antrim’s off-field problems have been well documented.
All the signs of an upset are there, but with Antrim hunting their 11th title in succession, the indications are that it rarely happen in this fixture.
Derry will provide a stern test though. Rogan deserves immense credit for the way he has turned around the county’s fortunes in 12 months. Last year training numbers were sometimes in single-digit figures.
The session after their Christy Ring quarter-final loss to London this year had 29 in attendance. They comfortably survived in Division 2A despite being relegation favourites and are now into their first Ulster final since 2003.
The full story is in the current issue of Gaelic Life, published on Thursday July 5. Buy your copy now in your local newsagent, or you can purchase the online version – for only 90p – by clicking here