Antrim fall to strong Tyrone at Healey Park

Leo Murphy Cup

Tyrone 3 – 15 Antrim  1 – 10

Antrim under 20s made the trip to Healy Park on Saturday to face the reigning All Ireland Champions in the second phase of development games in the Leo Murphy cup. Following up on a most encouraging victory over Down a week previously, a gallant Antrim side ran into a polished performance from the home side  who have set their sights on retaining their status as the best under 20 team in the country.

To Antrim’s credit they began brightly and had the audacity to remain within touching distance of their illustrious opponents for most of the first half. With the clock showing twenty minutes played the teams were level, the Antrim scores coming from points from Tom Shivers (2) Calum Higgins, Ryan McQuillan, Conor Hand and a goal from impressive midfielder Euan Quinn to keep Antrim in the game.

Tyrone finished the half with three unanswered points from Shea O Donnell, Ronan Cassidy and the imperious Conor Cush to leave four points between the sides at the break.

Cargin’s Conan Johnston who was strong in the Antrim defence

The Saffrons came out of the traps in sprightly fashion and brought the game back to within one point with three scores on the bounce from Antrim’s leading marksman and highly regarded full forward Ryan McQuillan, and the small band of Saffron supporters were engaging thoughts of a mighty upset.

That was as far as it got for Antrim, as it was the Red Hands who stepped on the gas and in the matter of five or six minutes rattled the net with a goal and added three points, and when Ronan Cassidy finished off a weave through the Antrim defence to palm to the net the game was up from a Saffron perspective.

Tom Shivers and Ronan McKillop scores in the last five minutes brought the game back to single figures as Tyrone manager Paul Devlin introduced amongst others Ruairi Canavan, and it was the home side who tagged on a couple of late points to finish the game fairly comfortable winners.

The best player on view by some distance was Red Hands Conor Cush, but Antrim will dwell on some positives knowing they were competitive for long periods. Best on the day for Antrim were Ryan McQuillan who is on a rich vein of form, assisted by Shaun O Callaghan, Calum Higgins, Tom Shivers, Euan Quinn, and exciting prospect Tiernan Mc Cormack.

Antrim Team; 1. Shea Laverty, 2 Ciaran Magennis, 3 Dan Mc Nicholl, 4 Eoin Gough 5 Tiernan McCormack, 6 Conan Johnston, 7 Shaun O Callaghan (capt) 8 Euan Quinn, 9 Conor Hand, 10 Calum Higgins, 11 Tom Shivers, 12 Ronan McKillop, 13 Conall McGirr, 14 Ryan McQuillan, 15 Niall Faloon.

Subs Used Padraig Gowdy, Patrick Ferris, Patrick Moyes, Niall Duffy, Benen Kelly, Jack Toner.

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