HURLERS AIMING TO be history-makers

HURLERS from the big clubs in north Antrim will be out to make history this weekend when County Antrim clash with hot favourites Clare in the All-Ireland Under-21 final.

It is the first time Antrim have ever reached the final at this level following their shock semi-final victory over Wexford.

And when Antrim run out at Semple Stadium in Thurles this Saturday afternoon in a match which will be shown live on TG4, they will again be massive underdogs particularly as Clare will have 14 of their Under-21 panel from their senior county side which had a draw in the All-Ireland Senior Final on Sunday.

But pushing hard for an Antrim success will be hurlers like Ballycastle’s Ciaran Clarke, Stephen McAfee and Matthew Donnelly, whose dad Brian Donnelly played in the 1989 All-Ireland Senior Hurling Final when Antrim lost to Tipperary.

Other north Antrim hurlers in the panel for the big final include Tiarnan Coyle from Loughgiel and Dunloy’s Ger Dixon and Shane Dooey and Cushendall’s Paddy McNaughton and Eoghan Campbell.

Antrim did record success at All-Ireland U-21 level in football back in 1969 and it remains to be seen if the hurlers will be able to match that.

After the low-key build-up to the Semi-Final, perhaps Antrim U-21s will be hoping to keep the hype down in the hope that they can slip under the radar again and grab success.

* SEE P50 FOR PICTURES OF THE LOCAL HURLERS IN THE ANTRIM SQUAD.