Electric Ireland Leinster Minor Hurling Championship – Tier 2
Meath 0 – 11 Antrim 0 – 16
By Damian McCallin
Antrim recorded their first win in the Lenister Minor Hurling Championship when they came from behind at half time to beat Meath on Saturday at Dowdallshill, Duundalk. The Saffrons began facing a stiff breeze and it was nip and tuck up until Antrim were reduced to 14 men after losing the lively corner forward Ronan Crossen half way through the first half to a straight red card. The teams traded points early in the game, with Niall O’Connor getting Antrim settled with a beautiful point from distance. Conal Bohill and Caolan O’Connor worked hard in the full forward line, with Ryan ‘Chipper’ McFarline, Ronan McAteer and Ryan Hill putting in a serious shift to turnover possession and create and convert several scoring chances. Antrim’s defence were tackling hard to gain possession, the half back line repelled Meath attacks on numerous occasions as Dáire Stevenson and Caolan McKernan assisted centre half back Cormac Donnelly in what was a war of attrition at times. Meath wasted several scoring opportunities before the break, which they would come to regret as the game progressed. Kevin McAuley’s puc-outs and control of the defence were a source of strength for Antrim when the game was in the balance. Kevin kept a clean sheet although in truth his goal wasn’t threatened too often, if at all. This was testament to the full back line who recovered well after a shaky start to the game. Declan, Anto and Ciaran shackled Meath’s full forwards and launched several attacks which led to scores.
Antrim came out in the second half three points behind the Royal county and began the ‘championship quarter’ of the game like a team with the bit between their teeth. Shane O’Boyle won the ball directly from the throw in and set up the first points for the Saffrons. Ryan Hill hit a monster free from distance which spurred Antrim to win the next few balls which were turned into scores as McAteer, Hill, Caolan O’Connor raised the white flag without reply from Meath. After John McAllister and Eoin McGrath replaced Shane O’Boyle and Ryan McFarlane, McGrath chipped in with two points, and as the game came into the final stages. Ryan Hill knocked over an insurance point. The scoreline might have been given a gloss near the end as Antrim were awarded a penalty, but the Meath ‘keeper saved well from Bohill’s effort.
Antrim were happy to hear the final whistle as they now look forward to the next round of tier 2 of the Leinster minor Hurling Championship vs group toppers Offaly.
Declan Mc Closkey
Ciaran Mc Quillan
Caolan Mc Kernan
Niall O’Connor (0 – 1)
Ryan Hill (0 – 4)
Ronan McAteer (0 – 4)
Ryan McFarline (0 – 2)
Caolan O’Connor (0 – 1)
Conall Bohill (0 – 2)
Eoin Mc Grath (0 – 2) for R McFarlane
John Mc Allister for S O’Boyle
Michael Mc Garry, Danann Mc Keough, Laim McLaughlin, Gary McIllhatton, Cahal Hargan, Daire Murphy, Declan McAuley