Antrim's Orlaith Prenter relishing league final clash with Leitrim
ANTRIM are ready for one final push in their pursuit of promotion to Division Three says star forward Orlaith Prenter.
The Saffrons will face Leitrim in the Division Four final on Sunday, April 16, with the winner going up to the third tier for next season.
It’s the prize that Antrim have been targeting for many seasons now, but one that has eluded them so far. They’ve played in three league finals and fallen short in them all.
There is a different feel about Antrim this year in the league, though, and their results are proving that.
They comfortably qualified for the semi-finals unbeaten in their three group games and against Limerick in last Sunday’s semi-final they were impressive in their 3-16 to 1-11 win.
Their All-Ireland junior success last year has upgraded them to intermediate championship status for 2023 and they want to be competitive at that level. To help them achieve that getting out of Division Four is paramount.
Prenter says last year’s All-Ireland triumph has given the whole team a real boost and confidence that they can compete at a higher level and there will be no bigger test than against intermediate side Leitrim.
“Winning the junior All-Ireland last year was a massive confidence boost for everyone. I think after that everyone realised there’s no reason we can’t be competing at a higher level,” said the Moneyglass player.
“We know ourselves we’re going to get better playing against teams in a higher division and the way games are going at the minute I think we’ll be competing well with the intermediate teams.
“It’s definitely a step up for us but it’s also something we’ve been training for and are ready for. You’re only going to get better playing tougher teams and it’s something that will benefit us come championship time.
“We played Leitrim in the league last year and it was a very tight game, we have a fairly different team this time round and we’ve definitely stepped up our performances from the start of last year.
‘‘It’s going to be a massive push to get over the line but it’s what we set ourselves as a target at the start of the year so it’s a game we’re all really looking forward to.”
It will be a first league final for Prenter and she is already looking forward to it despite it being a couple of weeks away.
The full-forward will certainly be on Leitrim’s radar. On current form – she hit 1-10 against Limerick – it’s hard to see any defence getting the better of her.
“It’s been a really enjoyable season so far. I think when you’re enjoying playing that transmits onto the pitch and is shown in performances,” she said.
“Last year, between county and club, it was quite a long season so we didn’t have that long break between the seasons which I think has benefited me.
‘‘Usually, there can be a bigger gap and sometimes form can dip and it can take you a while to get back into that form during the league, but thankfully that hasn’t been the case this year and things have been going well so far. I’m hoping that continues into the final.”