Antrim face Wicklow in all-or-nothing survival clash

The loser will be relegated to the junior championship for next season

Antrim manager Emma Kelly
Antrim manager Emma Kelly

TG4 All-Ireland IFC relegation qualifier

Antrim v Wicklow

(Sunday, Lannleire, 2pm, live on LGFA Facebook & YouTube)

ANTRIM manager Emma Kelly has described tomorrow’s crunch relegation showdown with Wicklow as their “All-Ireland final” as the Saffrons bid to save their intermediate championship status.

It’s a last-chance saloon for both counties after they squandered their first chance last weekend, Antrim losing to Cavan, Wicklow to Offaly.

The sides last met in the 2021 All-Ireland junior final, the first year that Kelly and Kyla Trainor came on board in the Safrrons’ management team, with Wicklow taking the honours.

It should be a fairly even playing field for both and as Kelly says it will come down to which team is hungrier and has that bit of luck on their side.

Neither team won any of their two group games and both conceded 3-11 in defeat last weekend, while neither side has yet managed to find the net in this All-Ireland campaign.

“It’s always disappointing to lose a game but to be fair, Cavan were the hungrier,’’ says Kelly.

“They obviously got relegated from senior to intermediate last year and were hungry and didn’t want to drop down to junior so they went out hard to make sure that didn’t happen.

“We trained the other night and there was a good buzz about the girls. They had seemed a bit lethargic the past while but there was a good buzz, a good bit of heart and belief about them again and I’m feeling positive about Sunday.

“It is going to come down who wants it more, who is hungrier and obviously who gets the bit of the rub of the green, the bounce of the ball, whatever it may be.

“It is going to be a tight, tough game, a bit of edgy, it’s not something that any of us wanted but again we will go out and put our strongest foot forward and just go at it.

“I’ve no doubt Sunday’s game is going to be a clinker, we have set it up that it is our All-Ireland final, it’s do or die and they will be doing the same,” said Kelly.