By Kevin Herron
Antrim ladies manager Seamus McKenna is expecting Fermanagh to have a little too much for his side as the two clash in the Saffrons first game in the All-Ireland junior championship series.
The sides met in Fermanagh on Sunday (2pm throw in) with the Saffron’s very much under strength against the side McKenna has tipped as favourites to land the championship in Croke Park in September.
He is hopeful however that his young squad can give a good account of themselves and gain more experience in a year which he believes is very much about transition.
“We’ve a very limited squad to choose from going into the game” McKenna revealed.
“It’s been a very young squad this year and we’ll find it difficult against a side I would deem favourites for the championship”.
“They are the opposite to us, they seem to have been able to call upon experienced players that they maybe wouldn’t have had last year, while we have lost a lot of our experienced players”.
“We have badly lacked experience this season; Eimear Gallagher will probably be our most experienced player this weekend as Emma Kelly is representing Ireland in Aussie rules in Australia”.
“It is going to be a big ask for the girls this Sunday, this year has very much been about transition. There are no high expectations on the girls; Fermanagh might just be too strong for us on Sunday”.
Since Antrim’s last outing in their extra-time defeat to Derry in the Ulster junior semi-final, McKenna admitted that it has been hard to keep his side together. The nature of his young squad means that holidays have affected player’s availability, but is hoping to have a decent squad available to travel West.
“Preparations have been hard since the Derry game” admitted McKenna.
“With our squad being so young there are players that are away on family holidays or at the Gaeltacht. We probably have around 22-23 players available for Sunday”.
“Training hasn’t been great, but that’s not down to the players. We will hopefully have a decent squad available and we will go out and give it a go”.