ANTRIM Ladies will be hoping to lift their third successive Ulster Junior Football Championship on Saturday when they take on Fermanagh in the final at Healy Park in Omagh (throw-in 6pm).
The Saffrons defeated Fermanagh earlier in the Championship to secure their place in the final with a convincing 2-13 to 1-10 win at Silverbridge.
They will be hoping for a similar result and performance at the weekend to claim yet another Junior Cup success, having beaten Derry and the Ernesiders in the previous two finals.
Fermanagh defeated Derry 6.20 to 1-3 in the other semifinal in Omagh to set up another showdown with Antrim, who they have lost against in their two previous meetings this year.
Yet, Antrim boss Emma Kelly has warned that her side, “never look at their last game and always look to the next” as she prepares for her second Ulster final on the bounce since taking the reigns in as part of the county’s first all-female management team last year.
“It’s brilliant that we are back in the final and when you get to this stage you always want to win,” she continued.
“One of our big goals at the start of the year was to retain the Ulster Championships and try to win the All-Ireland Championship, but with the league not going to plan this Cup took on greater significance.”
Whilst the former Antrim star acknowledges that Antrim go in as favourites she believes that is a dangerous tag given the unpredictable nature of a final.
“We won’t underestimate Fermanagh they have some great players like Eimear Smyth and Blaithin Bogue, whose threat we managed to curb in the last game, and we can hopefully keep them quiet again on Saturday.”
Kelly has one major doubt ahead of the final with Maria McKenna nursing an ankle injury which has forced her to sit out training.
Lara Dahunsi and Aoife Taggart have resumed training but will not be available on Saturday.
She has also conceded that with the final falling during exam season, there will be a few missing, but she is hopeful that the others that are carrying small niggles will be able to pull through.