Ruthless Ryan on the mark as experience shows for Dubs
Goals win matches and when a team gives away two simple ones it is bound to be a struggle to win. That's what happened to Antrim in yesterday's battle with Dublin at a bitterly cold Casement Park.
The visitors had a relatively easy and deserved victory but they were helped by two mistakes in an otherwise pretty sound Antrim defence.
Experience was a key note to this Dublin win with their teamwork difficult for Antrim to combat.
Dublin bossed the action right from the start and, playing with a strong wind at their tails, they raced into a 1-2 to 0-0 lead after just seven minutes, Paul Ryan the goal-scorer from a Peter Kelly delivery.
Antrim were relying on the accurate free-taking of their skipper Neil McManus who notched three points from placed balls but the visitors answered with four points in a row before Eddie McCloskey got one back for the home side.
On the half-hour came a major blow to the Saffrons when a long ball from 80 yards by half-back Michael McCarton deceived a bunch of players at the post with the sliotar dropping into the Antrim net to give the Dubs a 2-7 to 0-5 half-time lead.
Over the opening 13 minutes of the second half Antrim pressed the Dublin defence but managed only four points before they were hit with another blow. A cross from the right wing was completely missed by two defenders leaving David O'Callaghan an easy tap-in at the far post for a 3-8 to 0-9 Dublin lead on 49 minutes.
The winners dominated for the rest of the match until Stephen Beatty cracked in an Antrim face-saving goal on 69 minutes.
"It's another two points," reflected Dublin manager Anthony Daly, "but there were aspects of our play that I wouldn't be happy about. That performance would never do against Limerick next Saturday. We have now six days to try and get some things right.
"Of course, Antrim went down to Limerick and held them to three points. We got two easy goals. There are things that we have to work on this week."
Antrim boss Kevin Ryan summed up: "Dublin were slicker than us. They are a year or two ahead of us and they didn't allow us to close them down. We made two bad mistakes and gave away two goals."
Man of the match: N McAuley (Antrim)
Scorers – Dublin: P Ryan 1-5 (5f), D O'Callaghan 1-1, M McCarton 1-0, J McCaffrey 0-2, J Boland, D Sutcliffe, C McCormack, R O'Carroll 0-1 each. Antrim: N McManus 0-6, (4f, 1 '65), S Beatty 1-0, E McCloskey, K Stewart, P Shiels, K McKernan 0-1 each.
DUBLIN – G Maguire 7; P Kelly 7, P Schutte 7, R Trainor 6; M McCarton 7, L Rushe 7, S Lambert 7; J Boland 7, K Byrne 6; C Keaney 7, J McCaffrey 6, D Sutcliffe 6; P Ryan 7, C McCormack 6, D O'Callaghan 7. Subs: D Treacy 6 for Rushe (40), N McMorrow 6 for Ryan (53), M Schutte for Sutcliffe (53), R O'Connell 6 for McCormack, E Dillon for O'Callaghan (68).
ANTRIM – R McGarry 7; A Graffin 7, C Carson 5, T McCloskey 6; S McCrory 7, N McAuley 8, C McKinley 7; M Donnelly 6, E McCloskey 6; S Bearty 7, K Stewart 5, N McManus 7; B McCarry 5, KB McShane 5, P Shiels 7. Subs: M McFadden 5 for Carson (28), D Hamill 5 for McCarry (28), P Doherty 5 for McShane (h-t), K McKernan 6 for McCloskey (49), S Casey 5 for Stewart (60).
REF – C Browne (Galway)