National Hurling League Division 1B
Antrim 2-16 Tipperary 4-28
Antrim were put to the sword by a razor sharp Tipperary side at Corrigan Park on Sunday as the Premier County maintained their 100% record, and in doing so qualified for a semi-final meeting with All Ireland champions Limerick next weekend.
Fourteen points down at the break (3-13 to 0-8) Antrim made a better fist of it after the break and had a really good spell when they grabbed two goals through Nigel Elliott and Rian ‘Bubbles’ McMullan, but the Munster men always had the situation in hand and regained their composure to pull away again to win by eighteen points.
Antrim took an early lead with a Seaan Elliott point, but Tipp soon moved up through the gears and when Mark Kehoe grabbed their first goal in the fourth minute the gap began to widen. The points flowed from a potent attacking force and Antrim were left chasing shadows at times and good work between Sean Ryan and his fellow corner forward Conor Bowe, say Bowe crashed home goal number two. Antrim were not helping their cause with some wayward shooting and ten wides in the opening half alone tells its own tale. Tipp on the other had were very economical with the chances they had and a Pauric Campion’s goal just before the break game his team a 3-13 to 0-8 at the interval.
The second half saw a much improved Antrim side take the field and though they were never going to close the yawning gap a flurry of early scores gave the home side something to shout about. Good work by Domhnal Nugent sent the ever dangerous Nigel Elliott clear on the right and the Dunloy man fired an angled shot to the Tipperary net.
Two minutes later full forward Conal Cumming won possession close to goal and fed the ball out to Rian McMullan who raised his team’s second green flag inside five minutes. There was also a series of well taken points from replacements Scott Walsh, Seamus McAuley and Paul Boyle, but the visitors were always able to final a reply. Their fourth goal came from the impressive Sean Ryan who beat the luckless Ryan Elliott with a fine strike from thirty metres to wrap up an emphatic win.
Antrim: Ryan Elliott; Paddy Burke, Ryan McGarry, Phelim Duffin; Gerard Walsh, Eoghan Campbell, Niall O’Connor; Michael Bradley (0-03), James McNaughton; Nigel Elliott (1-02), Keelan Molloy, Domhnall Nugent; Conal Cunning (0-05, 3 frees, 1 65), Rian McMullan (1-01), Seaan Elliott (0-01)
Subs: Scott Walsh (0-01) for Niall O’Connor (HT), Paul Boyle (0-02) for Seaan Elliott (HT), Caolan McKernan for James McNaughton (52), Seamus McAuley (0-01) for Nigel Elliott (55), Rory McCloskey for Gerard Walsh (65)
Tipperary: Rhys Shelly; Eoghan Connolly, Michael Breen, Bryan O’Meara; Enda Heffernan (0-03), Ronan Maher, Pauric Campion (1-00); Joe Fogarty (0-02), Alan Tynan (0-02); Kian O’Kelly, Mark Kehoe (1-00), Gearoid O’Connor (0-09, 7 frees, 1 65); Conor Bowe (1-00), John McGrath (0-07, 1 fee), Sean Ryan (1-03).
Subs: John Campion (0-01) for Ronan Maher (26), Johnny Ryan (0-01) for Bryan O’Meara (HT), Paddy Creedon for Kian O’Kelly (49), Dan McCormick for Alan Tynan (53), Cian O’Dwyer for Gearóid O’Connor (64)
Referee: Paud O’Dwyer (Carlow)