Chris Kerr comes to Antrim’s rescue against Carlow at St. Paul’s in 2015. The St. Gall’s keeper has been excellent for the Saffron’s this season and will have to be at his best if they are to overcome the joint league leaders at Corrigan on Sunday.
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Although there are a couple of games remaining in their division four league programme Antrim footballers face a make or break game on Sunday as table toppers Carlow visit Corrigan Park.
Turlough O’ Connor has led the Leinster men to an unbeaten campaign to date and whilst the ‘beast from the east’ has interrupted the programme, causing postponement to round five his side returned to action again last Sunday and impressed with a nine point dismissal of Wicklow at O’ Moore Park.
Antrim were not in action last week-end in a rearranged fixture list which some observers had suggested would favour the Saffron’s.
Carlow boss O’ Connor did not give credence to such written opinions saying, ‘we are taking it one step and one game at a time and that is how we will continue’.
The win over the ‘Garden County’ last time ensures Carlow remain on the trail of promotion and three points ahead of Antrim and they will take the Northern route fully aware that a win in Corrigan Park will almost certainly assure division three fare in 2019.
A huge game for both with the outcome having huge bearing on the battle for promotion and Antrim will take to the Corrigan sod full in the knowledge that nothing other than a win is likely be enough if they are to keep their promotion hopes alive.
Lenny Harbinson, speaking of the League programme earlier in the year had commented that he fully anticipated a few ‘twists and turns’ before conclusion and the Antrim boss has been proven correct.
Antrim will travel to Limerick, who sit at the bottom of the ratings in the division following the Carlow visit, before travelling to Portlaoise at Easter.
Nothing will be decided as to the fate of the Saffron’s even if they do take the points on Sunday although the odds on gaining promotion will shorten considerably but defeat would come as a hammer blow to promotion.
Lenny Harbinson, following a good win in London will pick from a full panel, except for Casement’s based Niall Mc Keever who is still a week or so away from full fitness, and not much in the way of change is anticipated.
The defence, led by team captain Kevin ‘Kobo’ O’ Boyle and Dublin based Mark Sweeney have been good thus far in the campaign and little change is anticipated with Sean Burke and Stephen Beatty or Paddy McAleer the likely mid-field pairing.
CJ Mc Gourty is often the man for the big occasion and the St Gall’s man may well lead an attack which will almost certainly include the Murray brothers, Connor and Ryan, Matthew Fitzpatrick, and the ever accurate Patrick McBride.
Ryan Murray renews acquaintances with Carlow on Sunday at Corrigan Park and will be hoping to continue in his recent scoring vein of form for Antrim this season.
Prediction: Antrim to win by a couple of points.