Antrim beat Down in hurling challenge

Senior Hurling Challenge

Antrim 3-21 Down 0-21

Two goal in the final quarter saw Down get the better of Down in today’s Senior Hurling Challenge game at Dunsilly as both teams prepare for the start of the National Hurling League in three weeks time. There was only a point between the sides at the break with the Saffron’s just edging it by 1-10 to 0-12 and it was score for score for most of the third quarter. However a Nigel Elliott goal in the 53rd minute, following good work by James O’Connell gave the home side a grip on the game and when Elliott returned the favour to set O’Connell up six minute later the Saffrons had done enough to gain the win.

Antrim started like a steam train with James McNaughton firing a penalty to the Down net inside a minute, following a foul on Eoin O’Neill, and when Nicky McKeague, James McNaughton and James O’Connell added quick points they were six clear by the seventh minute. Poor finishing was letting the men from the Ards down but they eventually found their range on seven minutes when Paul Sheehan pointed from a free, and though Antrim pulled 0-8 to 0-1 ahead by the ninth minute a series of good scores had them back to three by the 22nd minute. In a lively end to the half the scores flowed freely from both sides, but Down had a slight edge and trailed by just a point at the break. (1-10 to 0-12)

Antrim got back on top at the beginning of the second half as two points by James McNaughton, and one each from James O’Connell and Conor McCann stretched the gap to four but when it looked like they were gaining and edge Down hit back with excellent points from Ronan Blair, Eoghan Sands, Caolan Taggart and Mark Fisher and it was game on again. However when Nigel Elliott was put through by James O’Connell 17 minutes from time he finished expertly to the net and from here on Antrim had the edge. When O’Connell grabbed his team’s third goal in the 61st minute the gap was out to ten and though Eoghan Sands grabbed two late points, one by Conor ‘Smiley’ McHugh sealed the win.

ANTRIM

1 – Ryan Elliott

2 – Stephen Rooney

3 – John Dillon

4 – Phelim Duffin

5 – Matthew Donnelly

6 – Simon McCrory (0-1)

7 – Ronan Molloy

8 – Conor Patterson

 9 – Sean Duffin

10 – Nigel Elliott (1-2)

11 – James McNaughton (1-7)

12 – Nicky McKeague (0-2)

13 – Eoin O’Neill (0-3)

14 – Conor McCann (0-2)

15 – James O’Connell (1-2)

SUBS – Conor McHugh (0-2); Kevin Rice; Conor Boyd.

DOWN

1 – Jamie Crowe

2 – Mark Patterson

3 – Caolan Taggart (0-2)

4 – Conor Cassidy

5 – Mark Fisher (0-3)

6 – Matthew Conlan

7 – Liam Savage

8 – OJ Davidson

9 – Tom Murray

10 – Paul Sheehan (0-4)

11 – Eoghan Sands (0-4)

12 – Paddy Brannigan

13 – Cormac Coulter

14 – Daithi Sands (0-3)

15 – Ronan Blair (0-4)

SUBS – 16 – Huw Flynn, 17 – Conor O’Prey, 18 – Ronan Cosello, 19 – Tim Prenter, 20 – Danny Toner, 21 – Michael Hughes

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