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Harbinson happy with the restart

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8 June 2019; Antrim manager Lenny Harbinson before the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Round 1 match between Louth and Antrim at Gaelic Grounds in Drogheda, Louth. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

8 June 2019; Antrim manager Lenny Harbinson before the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Round 1 match between Louth and Antrim at Gaelic Grounds in Drogheda, Louth. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

8 June 2019; Antrim manager Lenny Harbinson before the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Round 1 match between Louth and Antrim at Gaelic Grounds in Drogheda, Louth. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

The prospect of the Allianz football leagues now being finished has been warmly welcomed by managers of teams for whom the competition represents their best chance of measuring progress and achieving success.

The leagues now look set to be the introductory note to a straight knockout football championship, with round six on the weekend of October 17/18 and round seven games on the following weekend.

In a number of cases, there will be nothing at stake in some of those round-seven games, except preparation for what's ahead. However, for managers who see it as their staple diet, it sends out the right message that their primary interests are being catered for.

"Fundamentally for Division Three and Four teams, their primary competitions - where they can compete and hope to gain something out of a season - is the secondary competition," said Antrim manager Lenny Harbinson.

Opportunity

"From an Antrim point of view, the league takes a very high focal point, because we can compete at a good level. And, at the same time, it gives you an opportunity to potentially win something, or gain something, and feel that the season was worthwhile.

"When it comes around to Championship time, for the vast majority of those teams the best they hope for is maybe a surprise win in an early-round Championship game.

"Or if they go out in the first round, maybe they get a home draw in the qualifiers and get a win or very good performance," he added.

"You'll have the odd occasion where someone will punch above their weight and maybe do quite well," he said, citing Fermanagh and Carlow as recent examples.