GAA: Saffrons select two Championship debutants

John Kerr and Michael Gettens are the two Championship newcomers in the Antrim team to take on Westmeath in Mullingar on Saturday (throw-in 3pm).

John Kerr and Michael Gettens are the two Championship newcomers in the Antrim team to take on Westmeath in Mullingar on Saturday (throw-in 3pm).

The pair will start on the right side of the Saffrons' defence as they go in search of their second ever Leinster Senior Hurling Championship win - they beat Laois twelve months ago.

Manager Jerry Wallace has included four players from Loughgiel Shamrocks' All-Ireland Club title-winning side. They are goalkeeper DD Quinn, midfielder Barney McAuley and forwards Eddie McCloskey and Liam Watson.

With full-back Cormac Donnelly still recovering from a troublesome groin injury, regular attacker Conor Carson will don the number 3 jersey.

The Ballycastle clubman is the most notable absentee from the Antrim side along with Loughgiel's Johnny Campbell and Joey Scullion, who have both decided to not make themselves available for the Championship.

The winners of Saturday's preliminary round tie will progress to a quarter-final clash with Galway on Sunday, June 3.

ANTRIM (SHC v Westmeath): DD Quinn; John Kerr, Conor Carson, Aaron Graffin; Michael Gettens, Neil McManus, Neal McAuley; Barney McAuley, Paul Shiels; Michael Herron, Barry McFall, Eddie McCloskey; Darren Hamill, Liam Watson, Shane McNaughton.

Substitutes: Seanan McToal, Kieran McGourty, Mark Rea, Simon McCrory, Karl Stewart, Conor McCann, Colm McFall, PJ O'Connell, Sean McLaughlin, Kevin Grieve, Chris O'Connell.

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