Tuesday 24 October 2017

Collins' second-half penalties help Limerick stun Antrim

Ger Collins, Limerick, scores his second penalty and his side's second goal of the game
Ger Collins, Limerick, scores his second penalty and his side's second goal of the game
Padraig Browne, Limerick, in action against Tony Scullion, Antrim
Danny Neville, Limerick, in action against Tony Scullion, Antrim
Killian Phair, Limerick, in action against Seán McVeigh, Antrim

Declan Rooney

Three second-half goals saw Limerick stun Antrim at the Gaelic Grounds as John Brudair’s side bagged their second SFC qualifier win of the summer.

Limerick 3-11 Antrim 0-15

Ger Collins converted two penalties in 13 minutes after the restart, while substitute Darragh Tracey punched the clincher to the net in added time. Despite trailing by two points at the break, the victory was thoroughly deserved, said the Limerick manager.

“We are delighted with that win in fairness. At half-time it may not have looked pleasant but after the restart our accuracy was way better and we are very happy to come out of today with the victory and a spot in the draw,” said Brudair.

After winning the toss, Limerick elected to play with the wind at their backs from the start and made immediate inroads through Killian Phair and Ian Ryan.

Despite Limerick’s bright start, Liam Bradley’s side began to gain control in midfield with Niall McKeever and Michael McCann performing well under the high ball and in gathering any breaks.

By the 27th minute, the sides were level at 0-5 each — Paddy Cunningham frees pulled Antrim back into the tie — but the Saffrons were dealt a huge blow when half-back Justin Crozier was stretchered off with a dislocated elbow following an innocuous clash with Seanie Buckley.

That nine-minute stoppage didn’t disrupt Antrim, however, as they continued on their scoring run to earn a three-point lead, only for Mark O’Riordan to pin them back to a 0-8 to 0-6 advantage just before the break.

Three wides  in quick succession meant Antrim didn’t benefit from early second half dominance and Collins’ first penalty after a foul on John Galvin added to their woes.

The home side had worked their way into a three-point lead thanks to points from Galvin, Phair and Gearoid Hegarty, but when Collins converted his second penalty in the 55th minute when Buckley was fouled by Niall Delargly the win was all but secured.

An Antrim rally cut Limerick’s lead to two points in added time, but Tracey rewarded the great work of Eoin Hanrahan with their third goal to clinch the win.

Scorers — Limerick: I Ryan 0-4 (3f), G Collins 2-0 (2-0pen), D Tracey 1-0, K Phair, J Galvin 0-2 each, T Lee G Hegarty, M O’Riordan 0-1 each. Antrim: P Cunningham 0-8 (7f), P McCann 0-2, M Sweeney, N McKeever, M McCann, R McGrady, P McBride 0-1 each.

Limerick: B Scanlon;  S O’Dea, P Browne, M O’Riordan; I Corbett, J McCarthy, P Ranahan; T Lee, J Galvin; D Neville, S Buckley, G Hegarty; G Collins, K Phair, I Ryan. Subs: D Tracey for Lee (42), S Lucey for Corbett (44), E Hanrahan for Phair (63), M Brosnan for Neville (65), J Mullane for Hegarty (69), G Noonan for Ryan (73).

Antrim: P Flood; N Delargly, S McVeigh, K O’Boyle; T Scullion, D Lynch, J Crozier; M McCann, N McKever; P McCann, K Niblock, M Sweeney; P Cunningham, B Hasson, T McCann. Subs: M Johnson for Crozier (28), R McGrady for Hasson (46), P McBride for P McCann (53), R Johnson for T McCann (65).

Referee: M Higgins (Fermanagh)

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