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The National League and Ulster Champions travel South this weekend for the much anticipated clash with opponents Offaly.

All the accolades to date will count for little as the Saffrons search for that semi-final spot in a  must win game, which pundits feel will go to the wire. Antrim manager Mary Connolly is taking nothing for granted. Offaly will want revenge for that National League final defeat. Bear in mind it took a replay to seperate the sides and now the focus is firmly set on All-Ireland glory.”” This is the third time we will have met Offaly this season so there should be no surprises about each other’s tactics or game plan.”” said Connolly, who added  “”We were lucky to draw the first game but enjoyed a good win the second time around.  The score line, however, did not reflect the intensity or the competitiveness of the replay –  suffice to say it was a tough, hard fought physical game and we know that Sunday’s game will be our most difficult to date.  Offaly need to win this one to come through the qualifiers so Antrim must find yet another gear to overcome the challenge and earn the right to go through to the quarter-finals. 

The McKillop brothers have invested a lot of time and effort coaching first time camogie both ground and aerial and the fitness training has been a combination of skills and endurance techniques.  The girls are ready for their toughest task to date and we travel to Offaly, virtually injury free, ready and willing to take on whatever they mete out to us.  

We have depth in our panel and players like Sarah McNicholl and Ashlene McCaul will step up to the mark on Sunday and with Bernie McKinley and Mairead Graham fully fit this give us options on the line.  Chrissie Doherty is having a great season in goals complemented by Kelly Maybin, Sinead Laverty & Orla Donnelly at the back.  The relentless fielding and high work rate of centre field duo-  Rhona Torney Capt and Charlene Hamill will feed in to our formidable half forward line of  Michaela Convery, Jane Adams and Shannon Graham who will launch the attack upfront.  The two corner forwards, Orla McCaul and Claire Laverty are flyers, their speed and versatility and will pose problems and keep the Offaly backs busy.  

This is a crunch game and a must win for Antrim.


Catherine O’Hara


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