Johnston magic as Antrim rout Meath
Antrim 3-27 Meath 1-15
Both counties were sporting new managers and it was former Tipperary 'keeper Darren Gleeson who was happiest at the final whistle as Antrim made a winning start to their Kehoe Cup campaign at Páirc Tailteann, Navan yesterday.
The two-time SHC All-Ireland winner had a much stronger hand for this opener as Nick Weir's Meath were severely understrength due to a variety of reasons.
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The hosts were well off the pace throughout the opening half and with all six Antrim forwards on target the game was over as a contest at half-time with the Glensmen leading 2-16 0-5. Antrim only led 0-5 to 0-3 at the end of the opening quarter but they went on a scoring spree for the remainder of the half. Alex Delargy struck for their opening goal on 23 minutes to leave it 1-9 to 0-3. Donal Nugent accounted for the second goal when he seemed to catch the Meath defence off guard by blasting a 20-metre free to the net on 31 minutes.
Meath improved throughout the second half and substitute Jack Regan converted a penalty for the hosts shortly after half-time.
However, with Conor Johnston superb in attack the Antrim lead was never threatened at any stage.
They cut through for a third goal when Ryan McCambridge provided the final pass for Michael Bradley to blast to the net on 44 minutes.
Scorers - Antrim: Conor Johnston 0-10 (5f, 1 '65'); M Bradley, D Nugent 1-3 each; C McCann 0-4, A Delargy 1-1; N McKenna 0-3 (2f); C Boyd, R McCambridge, P Burke 0-1 each. Meath: A Healy 0-7 (6f, 1 '65'); J Regan 1-1 (1-0 pen); J Toher 0-4 (2f); J Walsh, P Hanrahan, N Potterton 0-1 each.
Antrim - R Elliott; S Rooney, Ciaran Johnson, C Boyd; G Walsh, P Burke, M Donnelly; E Campbell, N McKenna; M Bradley, R McCambridge, C McCann; Conor Johnson, D Nugent, A Delargy. Subs: C McHugh for Donnelly (47), J O'Connell for McCambridge (47), R McGarry for McKenna, R Molloy for Bradley (both 55), McCambridge for Boyd (66).
Meath - C Ennis; G Murphy, P Lally, S Brennan; S Geraghty, J Toher, K Keoghan; P Hanrahan, P Potterton; J Walsh, S Whitty, A Healy; D Raleigh, D Gilmartin, N Potterton. Subs: P Slevin for Lally (h-t), J Regan for Gilmartin (h-t), S Ennis for Murphy (49), C Kelly for Walsh, N McLarnon for P Potterton (58), Potterton for Hanrahan (66).
Referee - K Dooley (Offaly).