Armagh 1-12 Antrim 0-13
The ageless Ciarán McKeever guided Armagh to an unconvincing Ulster derby win at the Athletic Grounds last night, a result that keeps them right on course for promotion.
McKeever hit 1-1 and set up four more scores, before leaving the action to a standing ovation after 54 minutes.
But otherwise, this was a toil for a side that somehow lost its recent scoring touch.
A misfiring Armagh shot 11 wides in the opening half, but thanks to McKeever's 15th-minute goal, they were level at the break.
McKeever palmed home at the far post from Stefan Campbell's cross to round off a sweeping move and edge his side in front for the first time.
Earlier, CJ McGourty had steered over a couple of placed balls, and wing-back Paddy McBride raided for a sublime score as the Saffrons fearlessly took the challenge to the home side.
McGourty continued to hit the target, and while no Antrim attacker managed to score from play in the opening half, there was another gem from the exciting McBride.
McKeever's point made it 1-3 to 0-6 at the break, and the veteran had a hand in his side's next two scores, as Aaron McKay and Rory Grugan eased the home side ahead
Stubborn Antrim refused to wilt, and while they were on the back foot for long stretches, they broke with purpose to stay with Kieran McGeeney's men.
McGourty was the man with the cool head and the lethal left foot which had the sides level for a sixth time, but full back Charlie Vernon rallied the Orchard troops with two superb points.
It looked as if Antrim's resistance had finally been broken, but they fought back, and had a chance to go level, but Blaine Hughes pulled off a terrific save from a McGourty penalty
Antrim finished with 13 men, after straight red cards for Murray and Stephen Beatty, while Armagh's Stephen Sheridan also saw red in a bad-tempered close to the tie.
Sunday Indo Sport
The league has nearly always been the unloved cousin in the GAA. For many years it was 'only the league' as managers and players looked forward to the championship. Sometimes it even appeared as if it was in some way a hindrance to success later in the year.
There was a time when a particularly fanatical form of Catholicism was all the go in this country. Among its tenets was that there were great benefits to be had from fasting, flagellating, mortification and a generally miserable attitude towards life. The writer John McGahern remembered that going around with a long face on you was seen as a proof of good character. No physical pain, no spiritual gain.
Donie Kingston inspired Laois to a vital three-point win over Longford last night in O'Moore Park. Laois, mired in relegation trouble, needed to win to have any hope of avoiding a second straight relegation, and they duly claimed a three-point victory.