McManus on the mark for dominant Saffrons
McGurk Cup Final: Antrim 2-19 Down 0-13
Antrim and Down hurlers met on two fronts on Saturday night at the Dub in Belfast with the Conor McGurk Cup and a place in the final of the Kehoe Cup both up for grabs.
And it was Antrim who took bragging rights with a 12-point victory over their neighbours.
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The sides were level on two minutes after Conor Woods and Neil McManus swapped points, but Down settled quickest and led by 0-4 to 0-1 on the quarter-hour mark.
A McManus brace from placed balls cut the gap for the Saffrons with Conor Johnston earning his side's first from play to level matters at 0-4 apiece on 17 minutes.
Down responded with two Oisín MacManus frees but Antrim hit 1-5 without reply for a 1-9 to 0-6 lead, Niall McKenna batting to the net. Liam Savage stopped the rot for Down who trailed by 1-9 to 0-7 at the break. Antrim continued to dominate with McManus on form and a second goal arrived on 60 minutes through Alex Delargy.
SCORERS - Antrim: N McManus 0-9 (6f); N McKenna 1-2; A Delargy 1-0; Conor Johnston 0-2; M Bradley, R Molloy, D Nugent, G Walsh, C Boyd, J McNaughton 0-1 each. Down: O MacManus 0-6f; C Woods (2f); T Prenter 0-2; L Savage, P Savage, R McCusker 0-1 each.
Antrim - R Elliott; G Walsh, Ciarán Johnston, S Rooney; P Burke, E Campbell, M Donnelly; R McCambridge, N McManus; M Bradley, R Molloy, N McKenna; Conor Johnston, D Nugent, A Delargy. Subs: D McCloskey for Conor Johnston (h-t), A O'Brien for R McCambridge (47), C Boyd for M Donnelly (54), J O'Connell for M Bradley (52), J McNaughton for R Molloy (60).
Down - S Keith; J McManus, C Taggart, D Mallon; L Savage, C Woods, M Conlon; PJ Davidson, P Savage; M Fisher, R McCusker, R Costello; O MacManus, E Sands, T Prenter. Subs: C Egan for R Costello (h-t), T Murray for P Savage (42), D Óg Rooney for PJ Davidson (53), C Cassidy for D Mallon (56), N Fitzsimmons for L Savage (69).
Ref - T Conway (Derry).