Antrim seek redemption against Fermanagh

Niall McKeever (left) makes his first start for Antrim in five years
Niall McKeever (left) makes his first start for Antrim in five years

Given their poor league performances, it would be easy to write-off Antrim ahead of Sunday’s Ulster Senior Football Championship meeting with Fermanagh in Brewster Park.

The Saffrons struggled to make any impact in the bottom tier but Antrim boss Liam Bradley is looking at the game as a chance for redemption.

“We had a poor enough league campaign and we can’t hide from that,” he said.

“But I think we have revamped the squad since then and if we win on Sunday that will probably be forgotten about.

“There’s been a few guys in and out in recent weeks and we have had six or seven weeks of real hard training that will stand to us. We are ready for the game now.”

Bradley has included Niall McKeever in the team for his first start in five years, having spent the last few seasons in the AFL with the Brisbane Lions. He starts in midfield alongside Michael McCann.

McCann and his brother Tomás are both back in the team but neither Paddy Cunningham nor Seán McVeigh are in the starting side. Kevin Niblock is named at full forward, having being involved with Cliftonville in recent months. Goalkeeper Patrick Flood is making his championship debut, replacing the departed Chris Kerr.

Fermanagh have yet to name their team for the game, but manager Peter McGrath looks likely to give youth its chance against Antrim, having trialled many new players since taking over.

“The safe thing would be to go back to the tried and the tested players who maybe didn’t get you where you wanted to be in the past,” he said.

“There is no point in revisiting that. You should be more adventurous and look to the future and show confidence in younger players.”