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Ulster GAA Football Senior Championship

Antrim 2-9 2-23 Tyrone

Athletic Grounds
Maurice Deegan
Extra Time if Necessary
Ulster SFC: Tyrone too strong for Antrim
Mattie Donnelly, Tyrone, and Patrick Gallagher, Antrim, during the Ulster SFC Quarter-Final at the Athletic Grounds.

Ulster SFC: Tyrone too strong for Antrim

Ulster Senior Football Championship Quarter-Final


By Orla Bannon at the Athletic Grounds

Tyrone coasted into an Ulster SFC Semi-Final.

Goals in each half from Tiernan McCann and Connor McAliskey – two of 14 different scorers for Tyrone on the night – put the gloss on a game that will have told Tyrone very little about themselves ahead of a showdown with Donegal or Fermanagh.

Richie Donnelly was superb with 0-3 and an all-round devastating display while Cathal McShane again caught the eye as a lethal danger man on the edge of the square, top-scoring with 0-6.

Although Antrim made the most of some slack Tyrone defending in the second half with two goals in a 10-minute spell from Patrick McCormick and Matthew Fitzpatrick, it wasn't enough to raise the interest levels much above zero.

Richie Donnelly, Mattie Donnelly and McShane scored seven points from play between them in the first half and Tyrone were already 0-10 to 0-3 ahead by the time Tiernan McCann hit the net with a spectacular finish in the 28th minute.

Peter Harte's driving run through the middle set up the chance, he off-loaded to McCann who drilled a cracking finish inside the far post.

It looked grim for Antrim trailing 1-16 to 0-5 at the break and although Ryan Murray and Fitzpatrick offered some resistance, it was an uphill battle with the chasm between the Division One and Division Four teams cruelly exposed.

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte rang the changes early in the second half, giving game time to Darren McCurry, Kyle Coney and Connor McAliskey, with Conan Grugan already on in the first half for Ben McDonnell, who was black-carded for tripping Patrick McBride.

With so many changes made by 42 minutes in, Tyrone were already thinking ahead to a semi-final with Donegal or Fermanagh when McCormick popped up from cornerback, got inside their fullback line and finished superbly low across Niall Morgan.

Fitzpatrick followed it up with a second goal but Tyrone were ruthless at the finish, McAliskey drilling the ball high into the roof of the net from close range

Scorers for Tyrone: Cathal McShane 0-6 (4f), Connor McAliskey 1-2 (1f), Tiernan McCann 1-0, Richard Donnelly, Mattie Donnelly 0-3 each, Ronan McNamee, Rory Brennan, Michael Cassidy, Niall Sludden, Frank Burns, Kyle Coney, Darren McCurry 0-1 each, Niall Morgan 0-1 (45).

Scorers for Antrim: Ryan Murray 0-6 (4fs), Matthew Fitzpatrick, Patrick McCormick 1-0 each, Patrick McBride 0-2, James McAuley 0-1.

TYRONE: Niall Morgan; Hugh Pat McGeary, Ronan McNamee, Padraig Hampsey; Tiernan McCann, Rory Brennan, Michael Cassidy; Colm Cavanagh, Ben McDonnell; Mattie Donnelly, Niall Sludden, Frank Burns; Cathal McShane, Peter Harte, Ritchie Donnelly

Subs: Conan Grugan for McDonnell (BC, 24), Aidan McCrory for Hampsey (HT), Kyle Coney (0-1) for M Donnelly (42), Darren McCurry (0-1) for McShane (42), Connor McAliskey (1-2, 1f) for Harte (42), Conall McCann for Sludden (53).

ANTRIM: Padraig Nugent; Patrick McCormick, Ricky Johnston, Patrick Gallagher; Paddy McBride, Declan Lynch, Niall Delargy; Colum Duffin, Stephen Beatty; James McAuley, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Kevin Quinn; Ryan Murray, James Smith, Odhran Eastwood

Subs: Ryan McNulty for Smith (HT), Eunan Walsh for Eastwood (45), Ruairi Scott for Quinn (52), Michael McCarry for Beatty (55), Jay Mallon for McAuley (63)

REFEREE: Maurice Deegan (Laois).

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