Fitzpatrick sets up Saffrons' comeback win
Antrim 2-16 Louth 1-11
Two first-half goals from Antrim's Matthew Fitzpatrick helped turn this game on its head as Antrim came from six points down before storming clear during a dominant second-half performance.
This was a bitterly disappointing display from Louth who finished the game with 13 men as they lost their discipline late on.
The men from the Wee County began the game as favourites and when Andy McDonnell's goal put them six points clear 13 minutes into the game, it looked as though the game would go the way of the formbook.
However, those two Fitzpatrick goals reignited Antrim's challenge and they ended up going in at the short whistle a point to the good, thanks to an excellent score from the impressive Rory Murray just before the interval.
Antrim extended their lead early in the second half with points in quick succession from the deadly duo of Murray and Fitzpatrick. Louth briefly rallied with points from Conall McKeever and Ryan Burns, but the men in the yellow jerseys went through the gears, scoring five points in succession to surge clear and leave Louth trailing in their wake.
A bad day for Louth ended with goalkeeper Fergal Sheeky receiving his marching orders after an off-the-ball incident and their misery was compounded when forward Declan Byrne followed his team-mate off the pitch after receiving a second yellow.
Antrim would eventually coast to a comfortable and thoroughly deserved eight-point victory and they can now look forward to this morning's qualifier draw.
SCORERS - Antrim: M Fitzpatrick 2-1, R Murray 0-6 (1f), C Duffin, P McBride, R Scott 0-2 each, E Walsh (1f), N Delargy, P McCormack 0-1 each. Louth: A McDonnell 1-1, D Byrne, R Burns (2fs) 0-2 each, B Duffy, J Clutterbuck, C McKeever, E Carolan, C Downey, T Durnin 0-1 each.
Louth - F Sheeky 5; D Corcoran 5, F Donohoe 5, J Craven 5; A Williams 5, B Duffy 7, J Clutterbuck 6, T Durnin 7, J Califf 6, C Downey 5, D Byrne 5, C McKeever 6; A McDonnell 6, S Mulroy 6, R Burns 6. Subs: E Duffy 5 for A McDonnell (h-t), C Earley 5 for J Califf (48), R Holcroft 5 for C Downey (50), E Carolan NR for J Craven (55), C Grimes NR for S Mulroy (58), C Lynch NR for J Clutterbuck (60).
Antrim - P Nugent 5; P McCormick 6, R Johnston 6, P Gallagher 6; P McBride 8, D Lynch 7, N Delargy 7; C Duffin 8, S Beatty 7; J McAuley, M Fitzpatrick 8, K Quinn 7; R Murray 8, M McCarry 6, E Walsh 7. Subs: R McNulty 6 for J McAuley (4), C Murray 6 for M McCarry (h-t), R Scott NR for S Beatty (50), F Burke NR for K Quinn (63), J Smith NR for C Duffin (67), P Branagan NR for N Delargy (70).
Ref - M McNally (Monaghan)