Double blow for Antrim

03 May 2008
Antrim have suffered a double blow ahead of their Ulster hurling championship defence with the news that rising stars Neil McManus and Neil McAuley are facing lengthy injury lay-offs.

Promising attacker McManus could be out for the rest of the year with a double stress fracture, while McAuley will undergo surgery in Scotland on Monday to rectify an ongoing disc problem, and is likely to be sidelined for up to three months.

Commenting on McManus’ injury, Antrim joint-manager Terence ’Sambo’ McNaughton said: "He’s getting physio and doing a weights programme to try and strengthen the muscles in his lower back. But he’s hardly likely to hurl this year.

"It’s a blow for the lad himself as well as the county and his club. He’s only 19 years old but there’s no guarantee that he’ll ever hurl again."

’Sambo’ added: "With Neil McAuley, the best scenario is that he’ll be back in three months and might be able to play for the under 21s later on in the summer.

"It’s tough for these two 19-year-old lads - both probably facing surgery so early in their careers. I put it down to bad luck.

"They are playing a lot of hurling but I was playing for Antrim at the age of 16 and I remember once playing for Antrim minors, under 21s and seniors all on the same day."

Johnny Campbell, Aaron Griffin, Mickey McCambridge, Paddy Magill and Michael Magill are other injury concerns for the Glensmen ahead of their Ulster semi-final against either Derry, Cavan, Monaghan or Donegal on June 1.