Friday 30 September 2016

Egan takes Kingdom to promotion

Kerry2-16 Antrim1-18 DIV 1B PROMOTION/RELEGATION

Published 13/04/2015 | 02:30

John Egan celebrates scoring what proved to be the winning point for Kerry. Allianz Hurling League Division 1B Promotion / Relegation Play-off, Antrim v Kerry (Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE)
John Egan celebrates scoring what proved to be the winning point for Kerry. Allianz Hurling League Division 1B Promotion / Relegation Play-off, Antrim v Kerry (Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE)
John Egan celebrates at the end of the game as the Kerry kitman Jim Regan rushes in to greet him. Allianz Hurling League Division 1B Promotion / Relegation Play-off, Antrim v Kerry (Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE)
John Egan celebrates at the end of the game as the Kerry kitman Jim Regan rushes in to greet him. Allianz Hurling League Division 1B Promotion / Relegation Play-off, Antrim v Kerry (Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE)

An injury-time point from John Egan sealed victory and Division 1 hurling for Kerry in 2016, as the Kingdom deservedly put Antrim to the sword in Saturday's Division 1B/2A play-off at Parnell Park.

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Kerry trailed by eight at the break after playing against the wind but, in the second half, Eamonn Kelly's side reeled in the Ulstermen, thanks to two Colm Harty goals and seven points from the stick of the excellent Shane Nolan.

"We said at half-time to keep doing what you're doing and it'll come. We're still a Christy Ring team and we'll have to try and right that going forward. Antrim have been competitive all year, lost a lot of games by one or two points. We went toe to toe with them so maybe we're not that far off," said Kelly.

The half-time scoreline didn't tell the story of the opening 35 minutes. Kerry missed three goal chances and hit 10 wides. On 20 minutes, Antrim led 0-4 to 0-2 but Mikey Boyle, Keith Carmody and Padraig Boyle had all spurned goal chances.

The Saffrons continued to make the most of their chances and Neal McAuley added to a string of Shiels frees before the break. Patrick Kelly cut the gap after the restart but it was Harty's first goal that set the contest alight on 44 minutes.

Five later, Antrim were back in control but, on 55, Harty struck for his second goal. Three Nolan frees had the sides level, and when Kelly completed an unanswered 1-4, Kerry were in the lead and prevailed, despite an Antrim fightback.

Man of the Match: Shane Nolan (Kerry)

SCORERS - Antrim: P Shiels 0-7f, PJ O'Connell 1-2, C Clarke, 0-3, 1f, N McAuley, N McManus, M Bradley, M Donnelly, M Dudley, C Johnston 0-1 each. Kerry: S Nolan 0-8, 5f, C Harty 2-0, M O'Leary 0-3, P Kelly 0-2, D Collins, J Griffin, J Egan 0-1 each.

Antrim - C O'Connell 7; O McFadden 7, N McAuley 6, A Graffin 7; C McKinley 6, N McManus 8, E McAlonan 6; E Campbell 7, M Bradley 6; D McKernan 7, C Carson 6, P Shiels 7; C Clarke 7, M Donnelly 6, PJ O'Connell 7. Subs: C Johnston 7 for E McAlonan, M Dudley 7 for C Carson, D Hamill 6 for M Bradley.

Kerry - S Murphy 7; D Fitzell 7, P Costello 8, B Murphy 7; S Weir 8, D Dineen 7, D Collins 7; J Griffin 8, P Kelly 8; M O'Leary 8, S Nolan 9, C Harty 8; M Boyle 8, P Boyle 7, K Carmody 7.

Subs: J Egan 7 for K Carmody, J Flaherty 6 for P Boyle.

Ref - S Cleere (Kilkenny).

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