Folow us on social media

Sign up to our mailing list

Place your family notice

New Year blues as Antrim go down with a whimper

Antrim's Declan Lynch with Jamie Clarke of Armagh
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson Antrim's Declan Lynch with Jamie Clarke of Armagh Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson
By David Mohan

Dr McKenna Cup Group B
Antrim 1-10
Armagh 2-21

THERE was no masking what was a disappointing day for Antrim’s footballers at Glenavy on Sunday as their performance matched the gloomy conditions with a 14-point defeat to Armagh.
The result ends any hope for Lenny Harbinson’s side advancing into the knockout stages of the pre-season Dr McKenna, and while that is not a major issue, the manner of their defeat is certainly cause for concern.
This game was effectively over after 20 minutes with Armagh leading 2-8 to 0-1 as Antrim simply gifted the Orchardmen scores and allowed them far too much room to operate.
“The first half was pretty poor and there’s no denying that,” admitted the Antrim manager after the match.
“That was the foundation for Armagh going in at half-time with a big lead and rightly so as they played some good football. We were found wanting and the players know that.
“The only thing I will take from that is that it had reinforced in my own mind some of the players who are stepping up and others we will have to review.”
Antrim actually hit the first point of the game through Paddy McBride in the opening minute, but they were to be swamped at the other end with the points flowing for Armagh before a stray Colm Fleming kick-out gave Ryan McShane a gift of a goal to move Armagh 1-4 to 0-1 ahead on 12 minutes.
Their second major arrived a minute later, this time from a Jamie Clarke penalty after another stray pass resulted in Rory Grugan being hauled back in the area.
By the time McBride added to the Antrim tally on 29 minutes, the game was gone as Clarke and man-of-the-match Stefan Campbell caused havoc at the other end with Armagh leading 2-12 to 0-2 at the half.
McGeeney’s charges did appear to take their foot off the gas a little in the second half, but it was hard to blame them as the game became rather pedestrian.
Credit to the hosts who kept plugging away with Niall Delargy and McBride leading the way in attack and they did grab a consolation goal through Eoghan McCabe with the last act of the game, but this was a rare blemish for Armagh who were worthy winners.
“It’s the old adage of goals win games and once you concede two in three minutes it’s massive,” Harbinson added.
“Armagh’s tackling was very good too and I thought maybe in the second half we were blown up for some easier stuff, but that’s the inconsistencies.
“Armagh showed the desire of getting men forward and breaking lines, but we were just a bit slow in doing that.
“It’s disappointing because the boys are working really hard and we know they are. We made eight changes from last week against Monaghan because we’re using the McKenna Cup to look at players, although some were enforced on us through injury. When you make all those changes, you run the risk against a very good team of being exposed and that’s what’s happened.”

ANTRIM: C Fleming; P Brannigan, R Johnston, A Sweeney; P Finnegan, D Lynch, P Gallagher; M Sweeney, E Walsh; M McCarry, M Fitzpatrick, C Duffin (0-1 free); K Quinn (0-1), E McCabe (1-0), P McBride (0-6, 4 frees). Subs: C Lemon for P Brannigan (7 mins, inj), D McCormick for A Sweeney (15 mins, inj), P Nugent for C Fleming (HT), N Delargy (0-2) for P Finnegan (HT), F Burke for E Walsh (56 mins).

ARMAGH: B Hughes; C Mackin (0-1), R Kennedy, J Morgan; M Shields (0-1), B Donaghy, A Forker (0-2); S Sheridan, J Og Burns; R McShane (1-2), R Grugan (0-3, 1 free), J Hall (0-1); S Campbell (0-8, 2 frees), J Grugan (0-1), J Clarke (1-0 pen). Subs: A Nugent (0-1) for J Clarke (HT), P Casey for J Grugan (HT), N Grimley (0-1 free) for S Sheridan (46 mins), J McElroy for M Shields (49 mins), C Vernon for R Kennedy (59 mins).

REFEREE: Sean Hurson (Tyrone)

Please follow and like us: