CORK ALL-IRELAND winner Donal Óg Cusack hailed the achievement of the Antrim hurlers with their opening day league win over Clare but still feels they ‘will struggle’ at the top level this season.

Antrim lifted the Joe McDonagh Cup last December and at the time Cusack suggested their performance would make it difficult to bridge the gap between them and the leading sides.

They delivered a decisive blow in their opening game of the 2021 season with a two-point victory over Clare yesterday at Corrigan Park in Belfast.

They now travel to take on Kilkenny and Dublin over the next two weeks.

Cusack believes yesterday’s win was a huge boost but their fixture list will prove hugely challenging over the next while.

"It's an absolute fillip to the National League and to hurling… but I still think Antrim will still struggle in this division"

Dónal Óg Cusack reacts to Antrim's surprise win over Clare on Allianz League Sunday

Watch live on @RTE2 & @RTEplayer #RTEGAA

— RTÉ GAA (@RTEgaa) May 9, 2021

“On the evidence that day, there was a stark difference in terms of physicality and the quality of the McDonagh Cup final as to the game afterwards (Limerick against Waterford),” remarked Cusack on RTÉ Allianz League Sunday.

“Nobody was as happy as me with that result today. Every other hurling person in Ireland was delighted to see it – an absolute fillip to the National League and to hurling. I’d be delighted if this pundit here would be proved wrong on many, many more occasions.

“But I still think they are going to struggle in this division.”

Cusack and former Limerick hurler Shane Dowling both discussed the change to the advantage rule in hurling which was a major topic of discussion over the weekend.

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"That advantage rule is the worst thing I've seen brought into the game since the rubber sliotar was introduced in 2003"

Dónal Óg Cusack and Shane Dowling share their reactions to the impact the new rules made on the opening weekend of the Allianz Hurling League #RTEGAA

— RTÉ GAA (@RTEgaa) May 9, 2021

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