The left foot of Bam Neeson had Antrim two points to the good early on in Sunday's game against Derry. In your first game a positive early start is certainly on your wish list and manager Frank Fitzsimmons certainty was content with it. He was however disappointed at how the wheels fell off the wagon.
Derry began to take over and Liam McGoldrick's early goal knocked the wind from their sails as Fitzsimmons explains. "We need to come out and have a bit more pace in our game at the start of matches. For the first five or six minutes against Derry we looked like we were going well and then they got that sucker punch of a goal and our heads went a bit."
The Antrim manager pinpointed a key area for improvement. "It is early in the season but we still made a few very simple mistakes and they are mistakes we have been working to eradicate over the past few weeks. We just need to correct them and that is it."
His panel was decimated with players being on McKenna Cup duty with their colleges but the Lamh Dhearg clubman refused to look for excuses. "It is the first game in the McKenna Cup and we have players away and we know with those players away we are weakened but it is also a great chance for other players to stand up and claim a place on the panel."
The Saffrons have a quick turnaround as they are out against Queens on Wednesday night and it's a case of getting back on the horse again. "I suppose it is easy to drop heads but that is where you are looking for the mental strength to come into play. Look, there are a few of those lads who were having their first run out and Derry is a hard place to come at the best of times but hopefully we can correct some of the mistakes for Wednesday night."
Getting out of division four of the NFL will surely be the key target in the Antrim camp and Fitzy feels his side are improving. "Well, no, a McKenna Cup defeat would not worry you in itself but it is the way you lose. I suppose it is good to have players back and it is going in the right direction. It wasn't the right result against Derry but it's heading in the right direction."