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Round-up: The weekend's Allianz Football League Division 3 action

Niall Murphy had his shooting boots on for Sligo in their convincing Allianz Football League Division 3 victory over Antrim. 

Niall Murphy had his shooting boots on for Sligo in their convincing Allianz Football League Division 3 victory over Antrim. 

Allianz Football League Division 3


Westmeath kept pace with Allianz Division Three league leaders Down thanks to a three-point home win over Limerick at TEG Cusack Park this afternoon, and they had veteran Kieran Martin to thank in large part, after the Maryland player and former county captain came off the bench to make a crucial contribution, kicking 0-3 in his half an hour on the field.

Limerick made a strong start and owned the ball in the opening stages, kicking their first score through James Naughton in the fourth minute. Jason Daly became the first Westmeath player to touch the ball when he took the subsequent kickout and it wasn’t until the second quarter when Dessie Dolan’s troops came to life, kicking five points in succession.

Goalkeeper Aaron O’Sullivan and corner back Jim Liston came forward to kick points and keep the lead down to the bare minimum at half-time, but the first three points of the second half all went the way of the Lake County, with Nigel Harte, Danny McCartan and Martin all on the scoresheet.

Despite missing a couple of goal chances of their own, Westmeath kept Limerick at arm’s length right up to stoppage time, when Ciarán Downes found the net to set up a dramatic finish. However Martin was again on hand to kick a settling score, one that proved to be the last one of the game.

SLIGO 1-20 ANTRIM 1-13

Sligo made it three wins on the bounce and confirmed their very strong form in advance of what’s sure to be a humdinger of a promotion battle in Newry next weekend, as they outscored Antrim by 0-12 to 0-4 in a one-sided second half at Markievicz Park today.

Ronan Boyle got a vital touch to a shot from Rúairí McCann for an early Antrim goal, and with Patrick McBride in fine scoring form for the Saffrons, the visiting Ulster county were extremely competitive in the first half.

A brilliant finish from Cian Lally in between a couple of Sligo points seemed to put the Yeats County on the front foot, but with McBride to the fore, Antrim shot 0-6 in succession to lead by one at the break, 1-9 to 1-8.

Sligo took a couple of minutes to find their feet in the second half too, but once Niall Murphy pointed to put them in front, they never looked back. Luke Towey and Lee Deignan kicked 0-3 between them after coming off the bench, Patrick O’Connor brought his tally to 0-3 for the game and Niall Murphy led the way, ending the afternoon with 0-8 to his name, including four frees, two marks, and two from play.


Clare didn’t waste the momentum they garnered in last week’s remarkable comeback win over Offaly, as they were comfortably the better side at Cusack Park against a Wicklow side that are still in pursuit of their first league points of the season.

Two Cormac Murray goals in the space of seven minutes to establish a 2-5 to 0-4 interval lead, and points from Brian McNamara and Aaron Griffin after half-time ensured Clare picked up where they left off at half time, building their tally up to 2-10 before Wicklow picked things up a little in the final quarter, giving them something to build on in advance of what looks like a win-or-bust relegation showdown in Tullamore next Sunday.

DOWN 4-12 OFFALY 2-14

In a free-scoring encounter at Páirc Esler in Newry on Saturday, Down came through a shootout to maintain their winning start to Division Three of the Allianz League, while Offaly remain rooted to the bottom of the table in advance of a relegation shootout against Wicklow next week.

The midlanders looked sharp in creating chances but will rue four missed goal opportunities, with three of those coming in the opening half. Liam Kerr’s early goal helped Down enjoy a slender advantage for most of the opening half. Which ended 1-7 to 0-6.

A well taken 42nd minute goal from Odhran Murdock put Down 2-9 to 0-7 up and it looked like the game was done and dusted when a ferocious effort from Liam Kerr made it 3-9 to 0-8 after 47 minutes. Offaly could have fallen away, but a Jack Bryant goal kept them alive, and it was quickly followed by another big swing moment.

Jordan Hayes almost rattled the net for Offaly and they were made to pay when Down netted their fourth on the counter through sub Ryan Johnson. Keith O’Neill hit back with a major for Offaly while Bryant kicked some fine scores late on, but Down held on.