Monday 11 December 2017

Johnston teaches 'disrespectful' Armagh a lesson

Ulster SHC Final: Antrim 5-22 Armagh 1-12

Antrim's Conor Johnston in action against Armagh's Peter McKearney. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Antrim's Conor Johnston in action against Armagh's Peter McKearney. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Some post-match rancour spiced up a predictable contest after Antrim brushed Armagh aside at Owenbeg.

The Saffrons romped to a 16th provincial title in a row in an efficient display.

Both teams finished with 14 players, Antrim's Paddy Burke picking up a second yellow after 50 minutes before John Corvan's straight red eight minutes from the end.

It mattered little, with both sides already thinking about Saturday's important Championship matches - Antrim are away to Carlow in the Christy Ring Cup while Armagh play Donegal in the Nicky Rackard.

Antrim's striking and touch was on a different level and two early goals set them on their way to a comfortable victory.

Conor Johnston hit 3-5 from play and afterwards took aim at Armagh player Cathal Carvill, who had suggested in the build-up that he'd got the better of Johnston's brother Ciaran when the teams met earlier in the League.

Antrim's Simon McCrory holds aloft the Liam Harvey cup. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Antrim's Simon McCrory holds aloft the Liam Harvey cup. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

"It was more about giving them a lesson, what they deserved, because they didn't show much respect," rapped Johnston.

"A good hurler wouldn't have said that about anyone."

Antrim set the tone early. They won the toss, had a gale-force wind at their backs in the first half and surged clear.

Johnston was the most dangerous player on the pitch and his second point had them leading by six points to one before Paul Shiels and Neil McManus both hit the net inside a minute.

Antrim's Ciaran Clarke in action against Armagh's Odhran Curry. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Antrim's Ciaran Clarke in action against Armagh's Odhran Curry. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

That put Antrim 2-6 to 0-1 up after just 12 minutes and the game was already over.

Armagh's only scores in the opening half came from Connor Corvan and a David Carvill free.

Fiachra Bradley did get a goal after 26 minutes, pouncing on a loose ball after Carvill's free smacked off the upright.

Three minutes later Antrim got goal number three with Johnston charging through unmarked to leave it 3-16 to 1-2 at the break.

Armagh fared better with the wind, scoring seven points in a row either side of Johnston's second goal, but he bagged his hat-trick in the 56th minute.

David Carvill tagged on six points after the break for Armagh, five from frees.

Scorers - Antrim: C Johnston 3-5, N McManus 1-6 (1f), P Shiels 1-0, E Campbell, M Connolly (2fs) 0-3 each, C Clarke 0-2, P McGill, C McKinley, C Carson 0-1 each; Armagh: D Carvill 0-7 (6fs), F Bradley 1-0, C Corvan 0-3, C Carvill, D Magee 0-1 each.

Antrim - C O'Connell; S McCrory, J Dillon, S Rooney; P Burke, P McGill, C Johnston; C McKinley, P Shiels; M Connolly, C McCann, E Campbell; C Johnston, N McManus, C Clarke. Subs: D Murphy for McCann (43), R Diamond for Rooney (56), J McNaughton for Connolly (57), C Carson for Murphy (60).

Armagh - S Doherty; C Clifford, N Curry, D Bridges; J Corvan, A McGuinness, T Nevin; C Carvill, C Devlin; D Carvill, F Bradley, C Corvan; D Magee, C Gorman, D McKenna. Subs: O Curry for Bridges (23), P Gaffney for Devlin (23), P McKearney for Bradley (HT).

Ref - J Clarke (Cavan).

Irish Independent

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