Sunday 17 December 2017

Antrim fight back after shaky start

Antrim 0-16 Westmeath 1-7

Antrim's footballers confidently took their place in the second-round qualifier draw with a solid performance at Casement Park yesterday.

The home side got over a shaky start to boss proceedings in an entertaining clash. Westmeath got off to a flyer when James Dolan slotted past Seán O'Neill after just three minutes. But eight points without reply in a 24-minute spell had the Saffrons 0-8 to 1-1 to the good.

A John Heslin free broke a 29-minute barren spell for the visitors before Brendan Murtagh closed the first-half scoring with Antrim 0-8 to 1-3 ahead. After the restart Westmeath closed to the minimum on three occasions with a Paul Greville free making the score 0-10 to 1-6 midway through the second half.

The introduction of Dessie Dolan on 50 minutes raised a cheer from the Westmeath support. He got on the scoresheet to cut the gap to three, 0-13 to 1-7, on 63 minutes but Scullion and Cunningham added quickfire points to edge the Saffrons towards the finish line. Brendan Herron then closed out the scoring for a deserved Antrim win.

Scorers -- Antrim: T McCann 0-4 (2f, 2 '45), G O'Boyle 0-3 (2f), J Loughery, B Herron, T Scullion 0-2 each, C Murray, K Niblock, P Cunningham 0-1 each. Westmeath: J Heslin 0-4 (3f), J Dolan 1-0, B Murtagh, P Greville, D Dolan 0-1 each.

Antrim: S O'Neill; C Brady, R Johnston, K O'Boyle; T Scullion, J Crozier, A Healy; M McCann, A Gallagher; C Murray, T McCann, J Loughery; G O'Boyle, B Herron, K Niblock. Subs: S Burke for M McCann, P Cunningham for C Murray, A Douglas for C Brady, K Brady for G O'Boyle, T O'Neill for T McCann.

Westmeath: G Connaughton; M Curley, A Finnan, K Gavin; D Corroon, K Martin, J Dolan; D Duffy, D Daly; G Egan, J Heslin, D Harte; C Lynam, Denis Glennon, P Greville. Subs: B Murtagh for Duffy, D Dolan for Greville, F Boyle for Martin, P Sharry for Corroon, David Glennon for Harte.

Referee: M Sludden (Tyrone).

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