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Goals prove decisive as Armagh power past Antrim

Kieran McGeeney’s men ran out 13-point winners at the Athletic Grounds.

Rory Grugan celebrates a goal.
Rory Grugan celebrates a goal.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Armagh 4-15

Antrim 0-14

Declan Bogue reports from Athletic Grounds

THERE WERE 13 points in it in the end, and still Armagh needed a rocket at half-time according to Rory Grugan to get themselves motoring. They answered the challenge empathically to show once again the benefit of playing league football in the top flight.

They went in at the break 1-6 to 0-7 up, the goal coming from Grugan after two glorious kick passes from Rian O’Neill and Stefan Campbell. But they found Antrim hard to shake off while their own approach of bombing a series of long balls forward dwindling in terms of productivity.

Antrim were buzzing around with plenty of productivity and they had a goal chance spurned on 27 minutes when they might have taken the lead. The move started when Michael McCann stole possession off a loose solo from Jemar Hall and initiated a move with Ryan Murray, Conor Murray for Odhran Eastwood to take the shot, but Orchard goalkeeper Blaine Hughes kept the shot out with his legs.

The third quarter before the second half water break has become as critical in Gaelic football as it is in Australian Rules. Over there it is known as ‘Championship Quarter’ and here Armagh blitzed Antim 1-5 to 0-2 in that period.

The second goal came when Antrim’s debutant goalkeeper Luke Mulholland botched a short kickout and when he couldn’t fully commit to the return pass Grugan stole in to poke it past him. Mulholland caught his foot for a trip and referee Sean Hurson flung his arms wide for a penalty. Rian O’Neill drove it hard and low to Mulholland’s right.

That broke Antrim’s resistance and further goals followed from substitutes Conor Turbitt and Tiernan Kelly.

Scorers for Armagh: R O’Neill (1-5 1-0 pen, 5f), R Grugan (1-2), C Turbitt (1-1), T Kelly (1-0), J Óg Burns (0-2), C Mackin, G McCabe, C O’Hanlon, O O’Neill (0-1 each), P Burns (0-1, mark)

Scorers for Antrim: R Murray (0-3, 2f), R McCann (0-2f), D McAleese (0-2), P McBride (0-2), C Murray (0-2, 1f), N McKeever, C Small (0-1 each), O Eastwood (0-1mark)

ARMAGH

1. Blaine Hughes (Carrickcruppin)

2. James Morgan (Crossmaglen)
3. Connaire Mackin (Shane O’Neill’s)
4. Ross Finn (Granemore)

5. Greg McCabe (Shane O’Neill’s)
6. Ciaron O’Hanlon (Killeavey)
7. Aaron McKay (Dromintee)

8. Niall Grimley (Madden)
9. Oisin O’Neill (Crossmaglen)

10. Jemar Hall (Forkhill)
11. Rian O’Neill (Crossmaglen)
12. Tiernan Kelly (Clann Eireann)

13. Rory Grugan (Ballymacnab)
14. Andrew Murnin (St Paul’s)
15. Stefan Campbell (Clann na Gael)

Substitutes: C Turbitt for Murnin (HT), T Kelly for Campbell (46m), C O’Neill for Grimley (49m), P Burns for McKay (59m), B Donaghy for McCabe (63m)

ANTRIM

1. Luke Mulholland (St Mary’s)

2. Eoghan McCabe (St Gall’s)
3. Ricky Johnston (Creggan)
4. Peter Healy (St Enda’s)

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5. Marc Jordan (Lamh Dhearg)
6. James Laverty (Cargin)
7. Dermot McAleese (Casements)

8. Conor Stewart (All Saints)
9. Niall McKeever (Casements)

10. Ryan Murray (Lamh Dhearg)
11. Michael McCann (Cargin)
12. Paddy McBride (St John’s)

13. Odhran Eastwood (St Enda’s)
14. Ruairí McCann (Creggan)
15. Conor Murray (Lamh Dhearg)

Substitutes: T McCann for R Murray (45m), C Small for McBride (55m), M Sweeney for Stewart (55m), K Small for Eastwood (60m), E Walsh for Jordan (70m)

Referee: Sean Hurson (Tyrone)

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About the author:

Declan Bogue

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