Antrim 2-12 Waterford 0-10
Allianz National Football League – Div 4Antrim’s Conor Murray who scored one of the goals that guided the Saffron’s to victory over Waterford in Dungarvan
Antrim continue to lead the way at the top of Allianz National Football League Division four after they recorded an impressive win over the men from Waterford at the Waterford Institute of Technology earlier today. Lenny Harbinson’s charges had certainly underlined their current wellbeing when they opened their league account with an eye catching ten point win over the visiting Leitrim at Corrigan Park last week, and continued in a positive vein with this victory on the road.
It took a while for the Saffron’s to get it together in Dungarvan and a packed Waterford defence and the employment of a couple of ‘sweepers’ by the home side stood firm from the outset
Paddy Mc Aleer who was assigned a start berth in replacement for the injured Colum Duffin (who sustained a head injury in the previous game was first to register as he slotted over a point from play. The All Saint’s man nipped in from the right hand side to split to posts in the second minute but the home side were quick to reply as Jason Curry followed suit a couple of minutes later at the other end.
The corner forward who had helped himself to a seven point personal haul in the ‘Deise’s’ drawn affair at Wicklow in round one was not to be given as much latitude in this one but a further point added by Dylan Guiry in the 10th minute saw the Home side earn edge 0-02 to 0-01 in front.
Antrim continued to find the going tough against a packed Waterford rearguard but patience was employed and after a couple of openings were spurned as Patrick Mc Bride was off target with a couple of frees, but the Johnnies man took advantage as James Laverty’s intervention opened the door for a 15th minute point.
The visitors were back on terms and destined to move ahead as a stylish intervention by centre back Mark Sweeney led to a Conor Murray goal.
The centre forward’s strike taken right from the top drawer saw the Saffron’s claim advantage which they were to retain to the conclusion.
Waterford’s Connor Murray and Antrim’s Matthew Fitzpatrick swapped points as play progressed from end to end and similarly when the home side’s Joey Veale raised white in the 27th minute Patrick Mc Bride replied in kind at the other end within a minute.
As the end of the opening period drew near with the visitors dominant in the middle and watertight in defensive quick delivery and ‘off the shoulder’ advances were working the oracle. A foul on the impressive Peter Healey was punished by Ryan Murray as he sent the free between the posts and Niall Delargy’s interception gave Patrick Mc Bride the chance to follow suit a minute later.
Waterford did have the last say in the opening half however and a 38th minute shot by Paul White sailed between the posts to see the Antrim lead reduced to 1-06 to 0-05 at the break.
Paddy McAleer (left) who scored the opening point of the game and Ryan Murray who hit 1-3 from play
Waterford were first to strike in the second portion as Jason Curry split the posts but Antrim were quick to reply as Sean Burke struck from long range and the big midfielder was involved again a few minutes later with Peter Healey’s advancement and Conor Murray’s delivery opened the way.
The home side were reduced in number in the 48th minute after a heavy challenge on Matthew Fitzpatrick saw the ‘sweeper’ pick up a second yellow, but the home side did grab a 50th minute point via Jason Curry as he directed a close free between the posts. When Antrim were reduced in number as well, when St Gall’s based Sean Burke picked up a second yellow , the door to a Waterford come back was pushed ajar.
However Antrim were in no mood to release the grip they had on proceedings despite the loss of Burke who together with Niall Mc Keever had formed a twin tower dominance of the central zone, and when Mark Sweeney led a precision based counter and the pace laden substitute Kristian Healey sent Ryan Murray in for a second goal the game was theirs to loss.
The Hannahstown man’s strike had opened up a 2-09 to 0-08 lead and only the most optimistic Waterford supports would have anticipated a home side revival .
Indeed such was the dominance of Lenny Harbinson’s charges the manager took the opportunity to give game time to five replacements in the latter stages, with the points obviously in safe keeping.
Points from Patrick Mc Bride and Ryan Murray stretched the lead and although Dylan Guiry did raise white in the Waterford cause in the 68th minute it was obviously mere consolation for the home side.
Conor Murray had the last say on behalf of the Saffron’s with a typically swashbuckling 70th minute point, as good in the finish as in the approach emanating from a well organised defensive unit following a superb turn over by Niall Delargy who made several such interventions over the course of the game.
Waterford made the last mark but a 74th minute JJ Hunt score was of little consequence as Antrim breasted the line full value for a 2-12 to 0-10 victory
Stephen Enright, Brian Looby, Thomas O’ Reagan, Raymond O’ Callaghan, Jason Mc Grath, Shane Ryan, Aidan Trihy, Tommy Prendegast, Michael Curry, Conor Murray, Donal Breathnach, Dylan Guiry, Jason Guiry, Jason Curry, Joey Veale, Paul White
JJ Hunt (0-1) for T Prendegast
Michael Scully for D Breathnach
Chris Kerr, Peter Healey, Paddy Gallagher, Niall Delargy, Kevin O’ Boyle, Mark Sweeney, James Laverty, Sean Burke (0-01), Niall Mc Keever, Paddy Mc Aleer (0-01), Stephen Beatty, Patrick Mc Bride (0-04), Matthew Fitzpatrick (0-02), Conor Murray (1-01), Ryan Murray (1-03).
Kristian Healey for J Laverty
Ricki Johnston for P Gallagher
Odhran Eastwood for P Mc Bride
Ruairi Mc Cann for R Mc Keever
Sean Mc Veigh for S Beatty