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Antrim routing ensures Tipperary march into semi-finals with perfect record

NHL Division 1B: Tipperary 4-28 Antrim 2-16


Gearóid O'Connor led the scorers for Tipperary. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Gearóid O'Connor led the scorers for Tipperary. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Gearóid O'Connor led the scorers for Tipperary. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Tipperary marched into next week's semi-final in impressive fashion, maintaining their 100 per cent record with a comprehensive win over Antrim at Corrigan Park.

The Premier County made it five wins from five in Group B and that stat was virtually wrapped up by the break as they led by 14.

The hosts did spark to life for a spell after the break but couldn't get to within single figures as Tipp finished strongly to claim an emphatic win.

Seán Elliott nudged Antrim into an early lead, but Tipperary quickly hit their stride scoring 1-4 in response – the goal coming from Mark Kehoe on four minutes after the hosts gave up possession.

The scores began to flow for Tipperary with nine different scorers in the opening period while Antrim struggled to make much headway as attack was easily mopped up by the visiting defence.

Tipperary's second goal game on 20 minutes as Seán Ryan put Conor Bowe in to rattle the net and this made it 2-8 to 0-4.

Conal Cunning, Nigel Elliott and Michael Bradley were carrying the fight for Antrim, but Tipperary were much more fluid with Gearóid O'Connor, John McGrath and Seán Ryan all finding their range as well as wing-back Enda Heffernan.

Goal number three arrived just before the break as Pauric Campion got in on the right and finished, helping Tipperary into a 3-13 to 0-8 half-time lead.

O'Connor frees extended the gap after the break before Antrim enjoyed a decent spell with two goals in four minutes through Nigel Elliott and Rian McMullan.

However, they were unable to sustain the pressure with the gap down to 10 as Tipp hit back with their fourth goal on 49 minutes when the impressive Seán Ryan shrugged off a challenge to blast the ball past Ryan Elliott.

That was that as John McGrath began to put on an exhibition of point-taking, while substitutes Johnny Ryan and John Campion got in on the act.

Antrim had a couple of decent phases with a few of their replacements, Paul Boyle, Séamus McAuley and Scott Walsh on target, but Tipperary could manage the game out as they powered over the line with yet another big score ahead of next week's semi-final against Limerick.

Scorers – Tipperary: G O'Connor 0-9 (7fs, 1 ’65); J McGrath 0-7 (1f); S Ryan 1-3; M Kehoe, C Bowe, P Campion 1-0 each; E Heffernan 0-3; A Tynan, J Fogarty 0-2; J Ryan, J Campion 0-1 each. Antrim: C Cunning 0-5 (3fs, 1 ’65); N Elliott 1-2; R McMullan 1-1; M Bradley 0-3; P Boyle 0-2; S Elliott, S Walsh, S McAuley 0-1 each.

Antrim: R Elliott 7; P Burke 6, R McGarry 6, P Duffin 6; G Walsh 6, E Campbell 6, N O'Connor 5; M Bradley 7, J McNaughton 6; N Elliott 7, K Molloy 6, D Nugent 6; C Cunning 7, R McMullan 6, S Elliott 6. Subs: S Walsh 7 for N O'Connor (HT), P Boyle 7 for S Elliott (HT), C McKernan 6 for J McNaughton (52), S McAuley 7 for N Elliott (55), R McCloskey 6 for G Walsh (65)

Tipperary: R Shelly 7; E Connolly 7, M Breen 8, B O'Meara 7; E Heffernan 8, R Maher 7, P Campion 7; J Fogarty 7, A Tynan 8; K O'Kelly 6, M Kehoe 7, G O'Connor 8; C Bowe 7, J McGrath 8, S Ryan 8. Subs: J Campion 7 for R Maher (26), J Ryan 7 for B O'Meara (HT), P Creedon 7 for K O'Kelly (49), D McCormick 7 for A Tynan (53), C O'Dwyer 7 for G O'Connor (64)

Ref: P O'Dwyer (Carlow)

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