Improved Tipp fall to Antrim in Tailteann Cup

GAA: Tailteann Cup Group 2 Round 1

Antrim 4-12

Tipperary 2-13

Report: Shane Brophy at Corrigan Park, Belfast


Player of the Match: Kavan Keenan (Antrim).

SCORERS – Antrim: Ruairi McCann (Naomh Mhuire) 2-0; Ryan McQuillan 0-3; Eunan Walsh, Kavan Keenan 1-0 each; Patrick McAleer, Patrick McBride, Dominic McEnhill (1 free) 0-2 each; Ruairi McCann (Creggan) 0-1.

Tipperary: Conor Sweeney 1-7 (1-0 pen, 0-2 frees); Paudie Feehan 1-0; Jack Kennedy, Peter McGarry, Sean O’Connor (free), Teddy Doyle, Evan Comerford (45), Darragh Brennan 0-1 each.

Antrim’s ability to take their goal chances proved to be the difference as the Saffron’s saw off Tipperary in an entertaining Tailteann Cup group 2 opener at Corrigan Park on Sunday.

Both sides made use of the fine conditions with an open and fast paced game with the visitors starting the brighter with frees from Conor Sweeney and Sean O’Connor while they also had claims for a penalty waved away.

When Antrim settled, their pace and numbers they put into attacks caused problems with Patrick McAleer to the fore before they scored their first goal on eleven minutes, a blistering counter-attack following Conor Sweeney’s goal chance coming off the post and twenty seconds later, Kavan Keenan was finishing a looping pass to the net.

Antrim added a second goal two minutes later through full back Walsh, fortunate in that his initial shot was saved by Evan Comerford but cannoned off the full-back into the net. It helped Antrim into a 2-6 to 0-4 lead on 25 minutes but Tipp finished the half well, with the help of a Paudie Feehan goal to trail 2-6 to 1-7 at the break.

Tipp would have been hoping for a good start to the second half but the concession of a 37th minute goal to Ruairi McCann put them back as they fell seven behind before Conor Sweeney converted a 48th minute penalty, a part of 1-7 from the former All-Star, including five points from play in his first start after sixteen months out through injury.

However, Antrim cancelled the goal almost immediately with McCann benefitting from a Jimmy Feehan slip for his second but Tipp didn’t let the heads drop and points from Sweeney, Jack Kennedy and Daire Brennan brought them within three on 63 minutes but they wouldn’t score again as two late points from sub Dominic McEnhill ensured Antrim made home advantage count.

TEAMS – Antrim: Michael Byrne; Declan Lynch, Eunan Walsh, Kavan Keenan; Niall Burns, Joseph Finnegan, Dermot McAleese; Patrick McAleer, Cathal Hynds; Conor Hand; Patrick McBride, Ruairi McCann (Creggan Kickhams); Ryan McQuillan, Ruairi McCann (Naomh Mhuire), Marc Jordan.

Subs: Colm McLarnon for McAleer (29); Dominic McEnhill for McCann (Naomh Mhuire 59); Adam Loughran for Jordan (65); James McDonnell for Keenan (68); Cormac McGettigan for McQuillan (70+5).

Tipperary: Evan Comerford; Tadhg Condon, Jimmy Feehan, Mark Stokes; Stephen Grogan, Paudie Feehan, Conor Cadell; James Morris, Steven O’Brien; Peter McGarry, Conall Kennedy, Teddy Doyle; Conor Sweeney, Sean O’Connor, Jack Kennedy (Commercials).

Subs: Emmet Moloney for Cadell (26 inj); Mark Russell for Doyle (47); Luke Boland for O’Brien (47); Shane O’Connell for Condon (53); Kieran Costello for Morris (64).

Referee: Kieran Eannetta (Tyrone)