Ulster SFC: Armagh overpower Antrim
Ulster SFC Preliminary Round
ARMAGH 0-20 ANTRIM 1-08
By Steve Malone
ARMAGH can look to the Ulster championship quarter-final clash against Cavan in a fortnight's time with confidence after cruising past Antrim.
The were 10,063 fans at the Box-It Athletic Grounds and while 20-points is fantastic kicking it won’t be a game that will go down as a blockbuster.
Antrim failed to play as well as they could and got turned over too easily as well as being wasteful in front of the posts but Conor Stewart was the only goal-scorer of the game.
Armagh welcomed Crossmaglen’s James Morgan back from injury, he impressed and the Orchard will be glad to have him back for bigger games ahead. Ben Crealy also put in a good shift, while his midfield partner Shane McParland had a championship to remember with four points from play.
Conor Turbitt (0-08) was another player who will be expecting to hold down a position, even with Rian O’Neill, Andrew Murnin and Jarly Og Burns aiming to be fit for the Cavan game after sitting out Saturday’s win over Antrim.
Armagh cantered to a 0-05 to no score lead after 15 minutes and they were 0-10 to 0-04 in front at the break, with McPartlan, Rory Grugan, Jemar Hall, Stefan Campbell, Ciaran Mackin, Tiernan Kelly and his Clann Eireann club-mate Tiernan Kelly grabbing the points for Armagh will Antrim hit back with Ryan Murray, Stewart, Ruairi McCann and corner-back Eoghan McCabe finding the target.
Armagh had the wind to their backs in the second half and they were content to keep picking off points with McParlan and Turbitt busy in front of the posts.
Antrim created four second half chances for a goal but only midfielder Conor Stewart made it count after Marc Jordan raided through the heart of the Orchard defence. But there was no second half comeback despite Antrim showing plenty of fight as Armagh did enough with goalkeeper Ethan Rafferty (free) also getting on the scoresheet.
Cavan await the Orchard on Saturday; May 22 and it will be expected to a much more explosive encounter.
ARMAGH: Ethan Rafferty (0-01, 0-1 free), James Morgan, Aaron McKay, Aidan Forker, Ciaran Mackin (0-01), Greg McCabe, Barry McCambridge, Ben Crealy, Shane McPartlan (0-04), Stefan Campbell (0-01), Rory Grugan (0-03, 0-1 free), Jason Duffy, Jemar Hall (0-01), Conor Turbitt (0-8, 0-3 frees, 0-1 mark), Tiernan Kelly (0-01).
Subs used: Ross McQuillan for Morgan (48’), Stephen Sheridan for Crealy (52’), Aidan Nugent for Hall (57’), Cian McConville for Campbell (63’), Ciaran Higgins for McCambridge.
ANTRIM: Michael Byrne, Eoghan McCabe (0-01), Peter Healy, James McAuley (0-01) Patrick McCormick, Joseph Finnegan, Marc Jordan, Conor Stewart (1-01), Kevin Small, Colm McLarnon, Ruairi McCann (0-1, free), Patrick McBride, Pat Shivers (0-01), Ruairi McCann (Aghagallon) (0-01), Ryan Murray (0-01, free)
Subs used: Patrick Finnegan for McLarnon (24’), Adam Loughran for McBride (45’), Odhran Eastwood (0-01) for Murray (45’), Dominic McEnhill for Shivers (61,) Jack Dowling for Jordan (64’)
Referee: Jerome Henry (Mayo).