GAA Football

Lenny Harbinson to continue as Antrim senior football manager

Lenny Harbinson gave an honest assessment of Antrim's 2019 season Picture: Seamus Loughran

LENNY Harbinson is set to continue as Antrim senior football manager next season and will be ratified at Monday night’s county executive meeting.

Harbinson, who has been in charge for two seasons, cast doubt over his own future in the immediate aftermath of Antrim’s All-Ireland Qualifier defeat to Kildare in June.

But after holding discussions with county officials earlier this week, it has been agreed the St Gall’s clubman will resume his duties in 2020.

The same backroom team will remain in place with strength and conditioning coach Fintan Devlin seen as a key cog in Harbinson’s set-up.

The Loup man has been a big hit with the Antrim players with team captain Declan Lynch praising his work with the squad.

“We were as fit as any Antrim team has been, and next year we’re going to be even fitter,” Lynch told The Irish News in July.

“Fintan has given everyone an individual programme over the summer. In the past, Antrim would exit the Championship and the strength and conditioning was left and you picked it up again in November or December, and you were starting from square one again.”

There was undoubtedly some scrutiny on Harbinson’s position after they were ruled out of the promotion hunt from Division Four after just three rounds of games, but they established some momentum before their Championship campaign.

They put up a spirited performance against Tyrone in the Ulster Championship before beating Louth to record their first Championship victory since 2015.

But they couldn’t cope with an impressive Kildare side in their Round Two Qualifier at Corrigan Park.

Afterwards, Harbinson gave a candid appraisal of Antrim’s 2019 season and whether he would stay on for a third year.

“First and foremost, the players are the most important: what do they want?” Harbinson said.

“So, we all have to take a step back, no knee-jerk reactions and look at where we’re at, how we performed – be it players, be it management – and ask can we add value next year? They are reasonable questions that everybody should be asking.

“I’m disappointed we didn’t get out of Division Four,” he added.

“If you’re exclusively looking at that, then it’s a failure. That maybe a bit hard, but I’m just calling it as it is.

“We set ourselves a goal of getting out of Division Four and we didn’t do it.”

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