In the latest episode of the RTÉ GAA Podcast series My Icons, Antrim star Neil McManus tells us about being inspired by the Saffrons heroes of 1989 and beyond, Sambo McNaughton's unusual method of dropping players, and his favourite Munster forwards.

After a stellar 2020 that saw Antrim win both the Joe McDonagh Cup and Division 2A, we also asked McManus how counties like his can become consistent players at the top table. 

"I think the only way is to fund those teams," he says.

"I have good friends in the Clare, Tipperary and Kilkenny panels and there is a level of funding that they have access to, because of the way they have built their brand, that isn't available to Antrim but can be in the future.

"Those counties do have access to resources that Antrim don't, but the longer we can play at the top level, the more likely the chances of building those resources.

"It makes sense that companies and people with the highest standards will want to be involved with the highest standards so being in Division 1 for a sustained period should work the same here."

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As the GAA world awaits news on what type of competitions might be possible during the pandemic, the 32-year-old admits that the ideal situation would be for Antrim to play every Division 1 and Leinster round-robin match. 

"From a selfish point of view, you're looking for as many games to go ahead as possible. League and championship," he says.

"Because it's competition against the top sides that brings you on, that's how you learn and where you grow.

"We've a very young panel as well so the more games we can get under our belt the better.

"But sport aside, we have to do what's best for the country and be patient."

You can watch the episode above or listen on Apple PodcastsSoundcloudSpotify, or wherever you get your podcasts