Antrim star Neil McManus sees this year’s Joe McDonagh Cup final being played before the All-Ireland SHC decider as a major incentive for teams in the second tier competition.
This year’s condensed season has saw the GAA elect for a double-header at Croke Park in December and speaking on Inside The Game, McManus says teams will be relishing the opportunity to line-out at HQ on the biggest day on the hurling calendar.
"The first thought of anybody that's competing in the Joe McDonagh Cup this year is the final is scheduled to be played before the All-Ireland final in December," he told Sky Sports' Inside The Game.
"What a showcase for anybody at this level to try and get out onto Croke Park on All-Ireland final day. We certainly didn't see that coming at the start of the year.
“Those five teams are so evenly matched, it genuinely could be any two who could make the final. The results have kind of went every direction in the past couple of seasons.
"We would be really hopeful we can be competitive. I know Carlow have just come down from the Liam MacCarthy, and Westmeath have been really strong the last couple of years too. And they're probably most people's favourites. But we definitely think we can mix it with any of those."Tweet