Rushe warns Dublin team-mates 'you write off Antrim at your peril'
AFTER picking up provincial titles at minor, senior and U-21 level this year, it's business as usual for Antrim in Ulster hurling circles.
But their unimpressive performance in the U-21 Ulster final against Armagh last month, where they needed two late points to secure a third successive title at the grade, has marked them out as huge outsiders for tonight's clash with Dublin -- one bookmaker has priced the Leinster champions at 1/100.
Dublin boast four members of Anthony Daly's senior squad: Liam Rushe, Daire Plunkett, Martin Quilty and Danny Sutcliffe.
And Rushe knows from bitter experience that Antrim are capable of such surprises.
"If we learned anything last year, it's write Antrim off at your peril," he said in reference to last year's exit at the hands of the Saffrons at senior level.
"It is a bit hard to build myself up for this game, but it's just as big as the last one was. It's up in Newry and a chance to get into an All-Ireland final."
Antrim's Matthew Donnelly, James Black and James McCouaig, were part of Dinny Allen's senior set-up, as was forward Conor McMcCann, who acknowledges that his side will have to pull off a major upset to reach their first U-21 final.
"It's going to be a massive challenge," he said. "We are definitely starting uphill. Hopefully we can hurl as best we can. I don't think in the Ulster final against Armagh we showed how well we can actually play.
"But it's going to be tough against Dublin. Hopefully we can hurl as best we can."
Eamonn Dillon has been rewarded for scoring 1-2 from the bench in the Leinster final with a place in the Dublin starting 15.
However, the Dubs are without Ciaran Brennan and Cillian Moffat (both shoulder).