Antrim boss Kelly unhappy with Limerick fixture plans

Antrim v Limerick
Sunday, Bruff, 2pm

By Niall Gartland

ANTRIM ladies manager Emma Kelly is disappointed that Limerick couldn’t be more accommodating in their request for their All-Ireland Championship to be played at an earlier start date this Saturday.

The game is fixed for 2pm, and Kelly says that isn’t ideal as a significant number of her players have exams on Monday morning. She’s also frustrated that the game has been set for Bruff, an intriguing place name but too remote for Kelly’s liking.

That aside, Antrim have been going well and successfully defended their Ulster Junior Championship title, so hopes are high that they can go one better in the All-Ireland than last year, where they lost to Wicklow. They also have a clean bill of health with the talented Lara Dahunsi getting back to fitness.

“Exams have hit us big time, a lot of girls are doing A-Levels and University exams, so we haven’t had a full squad,” Emma said.

“We know girls are under pressure but Croke Park has squeezed everything together and haven’t taken exams into consideration.

“The main killer is going to be the journey, Limerick have brought us to the backend of nowhere. We’d asked them an earlier start than two (o’clock) so we could get the girls back up the road, but we were told ‘no’ in polite terms.

“Hopefully it’s a source of motivation for our squad, it’s a difficult enough game as it is.”

The Munster side looked strong in the League and made it all the way to the final, where they lost to Intermediate outfit Limerick. Kelly says it’s important that the Saffrons get off to a winning start as they aren’t quite sure what to expect from their second and final group stage opponents New York.

“We were in the other section of the League so we haven’t met them. They were probably the better team for a lot of the game in the League final. They’re a big physical side, and we don’t have many players of that stature. We’ll probably have to adjust our starting team to get the match-ups right.

“We only have two games and New York are an unknown quantity. I’ve said to the girls we need to win both matches to get that winning mindset and consistency into our game.

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