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Dublin: 17 °C Thursday 13 August, 2020

'We're in for a massive hiding' - Not much optimism here before All-Ireland U21 semi-final

Don’t expect a shock, says Kevin Ryan.

Eoin Conroy and Daniel McKiernan Action from the 2013 All-Ireland U21 semi-final between Antrim and Wexford. Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

KEVIN RYAN HOLDS out little hope for Antrim’s U21 hurlers in Saturday’s Bord Gáis Energy All-Ireland semi-final against Wexford.

The Antrim boss reckons his team are ‘in for a massive hiding’ due to their lack of preparation with club commitments having taken preference in the build-up to the game in Thurles.

“We’re in for a massive hiding this weekend,” Ryan told The Irish News.

“It’s so annoying that we couldn’t get the four weeks of preparation done. But that’s the way the clubs’ attitudes are.

Kevin Ryan Antrim manager Kevin Ryan Source: Presseye/John McIlwaine/INPHO

“There is so little interest in this game. It’s unbelievable. It’s so frustrating.”

“My honest feeling is we don’t deserve to be in the competition.

When I look at Waterford, Tipperary, Clare and teams like that and what they’ve put into their U21′s, and then to look at how we’re treating an All-Ireland semi-final, there is something not right about.”

Wexford’s star attacker Conor McDonald admitted complacency affected them when they suffered a shock defeat to Antrim back in 2013.

“That’s going to be a bit of an incentive as well, I suppose,” McDonald told The42.

Conor McDonald and Kevin Foley celebrate after the game Conor McDonald and Kevin Foley celebrate last month's Leinster U21 hurling final win over Kilkenny Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“There are three starters from that day and maybe seven on the panel.

“When it’s drilled in from the public…you think ‘nah, I’m not thinking that way’ or ‘I’m not going to be complacent’ but there was so much pressure with people saying we were going to get to an All-Ireland final and this was an easy game.”

Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling U-21 All-Ireland Championship Semi Final Media Event Wexford's Conor McDonald and Antrim's Ryan McCambridge will be in opposition on Saturday Source: David Maher/SPORTSFILE

“It will be in everyone’s head that we do have a point to prove – to right what happened two years ago.

“From the personal side of things, you think ‘we have to put it right’.”

Kevin Ryan and Neil McManus celebrate at the final whistle Kevin Ryan and Neil McManus celebrate Antrim's U21 win in 2013 Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

Antrim’s Ryan McCambridge is determined that their team perform for their manager.

“We know that after the U-21 championship he’s resigning as county manager but we’re not letting that affect anything.

“We obviously want to go out and do good by him because he’s put a lot into us the last few years so we want to do something good for him.

“We want to go out and show that we won’t just lie down, we won’t just accept defeat, we’ll keep going.

“We showed what we could down there against them two years ago so we’ve done it before so why not do it again.”

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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