Hurling and camogie

Karl McKeegan staying positive ahead of Carlow encounter

NO TROUBLE: Fred McCurry and Antrim had little trouble seeing off Down in their Qualifier clash in March
By Padraig Kelly

Leinster U20 Hurling Championship round one: Antrim v Carlow (today, GAA Centre of Excellence, Abbottstown, 2pm)

ANTRIM U20 manager Karl McKeegan is maintaining a sunny disposition despite the difficulties that have accompanied the build up to their Leinster Championship clash with Carlow this afternoon.

The Saffrons travel to Abbotstown with a panel full of talent but short on proper preparation, according to their manager.

“U20s are a hard group to get together,” said the Cushendall man.

“You have exams then most of them are on senior panels too so we haven't had a lot of games to see players in.

“It's very difficult to get challenge games lined up so we brought them in and played a few games against the seniors.

“It would have been great to have played a few games but you don't want to stretch them too much, you don't want to put too much pressure on them.

“At this age group they should still be able to enjoy their hurling.”

Antrim's last competitive game came all the way back in March when they defeated Down 3-27 to 1-13 in a Leinster Championship Qualifier.

Seann Elliott grabbed their first goal from the penalty spot while Conor Bohill added a second soon after to give them a 2-17 to 1-6 half-time lead.

Declan Smyth, who finished with seven points from play, continued to shine after the interval while Niall McCormick added a third goal.

“It will pretty much be the same panel that we had against Down for the Carlow game,” McKeegan added.

“They're a great group of players and they're looking forward to it.”

Carlow hurling is on a real high at the moment with the senior team competing in the Leinster Championship, and Kilkenny native Patrick O'Flynn the man tasked with progressing the U20.

The winners today will meet either Westmeath or Offaly who clash on Monday.

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