Dublin pipped at the death

All-Ireland SHC Phase 3 Qualifier

All-Ireland SHC Phase 3 Qualifier

Dublin 0-19 Antrim 1-17, Croke Park

Midfielder Karl Stewart struck the decisive injury-time point as Antrim overhauled a dithering Dublin side at Croke Park this afternoon.

The Dubs had a 0-18 to 1-9 lead with 20 minutes remaining, but the Saffrons rallied superbly to seal their first All-Ireland quarter-final appearance since 2004.

Indeed, this was Antrim's first ever Championship victory over Dublin and a real shot in the arm for Dinny Cahill's underrated side.

Free-takers Alan McCrabbe and Neil McManus led the scoring as the sides went in level at half-time at 0-10 to 1-7, with PJ O’Connell registering Antrim’s goal.

Dublin ace McCrabbe added five more points to his tally, but the Ulster champions' never-say-die spirit got them over the finish line.

Dublin had 10 points to spare over Antrim when the counties met in last year's Leinster Championship, but there was no killer instinct on view here.

Having impressed against Clare last weekend, Anthony Daly's men were heavy favourites to win through to their second successive All-Ireland quarter-final.

The Dublin management were forced into one late change as John McCaffrey made way for Simon Lambert, with Maurice O'Brien switching to midfield.

Antrim fielded a team that showed one change to the one which saw off Carlow in the first phase of the qualifiers. Simon McCrory, an impressive substitute that day, started in the half-forwards in place of Colm McFall.

Dublin continued where they left off against Clarke, with centre-back Joey Boland breaking through to slot over the first score after just 20 seconds.

Karl McKeegan snatched an equaliser soon after, and despite Dublin regaining the lead thanks to McCrabbe's fourth minute score, the sides were tied at 0-2 apiece when McManus sent over the first of his five first half points from placed balls.

In sunny conditions, the first half was reasonably free-flowing and evenly-contested, devoid of any major incident with referee Diarmuid Kirwan failing to show a yellow card in the opening 35 minutes.

Antrim were not fazed by the vastness of Croke Park, and quickly showed that their gutsy display in taking Offaly to extra-time earlier in the Championship was not a flash in the pan.

The Saffrons delivered on that promise in the eight minute when PJ O'Connell smashed the ball to the net from close range.

Antrim won possession at midfield, with a long ball played inside by Stewart, and O'Connell got the better of two Dublin defenders to cut through from the right side and drill his shot past Dublin goalkeeper Gary Maguire. Cahill's charges edged 1-3 to 0-2 clear thanks to a Liam Watson point.

Dublin's only clearcut goal opportunity of the opening half arrived in the 21st minute, with Carton feeding Alan McCrabbe, but Antrim goalkeeper Chris O'Connell smothered the ball.

However, McCrabbe converted from the resulting breaking ball to kickstart a dominant spell from the Dubs who fired over three unanswered points to level the tie at 0-8 to 1-5 in the 24th minute.

There was little to separate the sides before the break, scores from Peadar Carton and McCrabbe were sandwiched in between a brace from McManus to square things up at the interval.

McCrabbe fired his fifth point inside two minutes of the restart, and Dublin were beginning to hit their stride when Lambert pointed a free to make it 0-16 to 1-8 in the 47th minute.

Antrim net minder O'Connell pulled off a superb block from Paul Ryan's goal-bound shot, after the Dublin substitute had galloped through on a solo run towards Hill 16.

However, McCrabbe slotted over the resulting '65' and when McNaughton and Lambert traded quick-fire points, Dublin were 0-18 to 1-9 to the good.

Dublin had been guilty of some wastefulness in front of goal - the substituted David O'Callaghan being one of the guilty parties - and those wides came back to haunt them during a lacklustre closing spell.

Antrim really raised their game and as they held Dublin scoreless over an 11-minute spell, they strung together points from McManus, Liam Watson and Karl McKeegan.

McCrabbe slotted over a much-needed Dublin point - his ninth of the contest with a little over 10 minutes remaining - but Antrim looked the hungrier side at this stage, and it showed in the end.

The Ulstermen scored eight of the game's last nine points, with defender Sean Delargy claiming an inspirational point in the 61st minute and McManus continuing to score his precision from frees.

Both sides had scoring opportunities in the closing minute of normal time. Agonisingly for Dublin, substitute Liam Ryan sent a blazing goal shot wide of the target in the 70th minute.

Antrim then turned the screw in injury-time. McNaughton equalised from a free a minute into injury-time, before Stewart's late winner sent the vocal Antrim support into raptures and left the pre-match favourites stunned.

Scorers: Dublin: A McCrabbe 0-9 (0-6f, 0-1 '65'), S Lambert (0-2f), P Carton 0-3 each, J Boland, L Rushe, D O'Callaghan, P Ryan 0-1 each

Antrim: N McNaughton 0-8 (0-8f), PJ O'Connell 1-1, S McNaughton (0-1f), L Watson (0-1f), K McKeegan 0-2 each, S Delargy, K Stewart 0-1 each

DUBLIN: G Maguire; N Corcoran, T Brady, O Gough; S Hiney, J Boland, M O'Brien; S Lambert, S Durkin; P Kelly, L Rushe, D O'Dwyer; P Carton, D O'Callaghan, A McCrabbe.

Subs used: P Ryan for Durkin (half-time), M Carton for Kelly (51 mins), D Treacy for O'Callaghan (54), L Ryan for Rushe (56), K Flynn for O'Brien (64).

ANTRIM: C O'Connell; K McGourty, C Donnelly, S Delargy; P Shiels, J Campbell, C Herron; S McNaughton, K Stewart; S McCrory, N McManus, T McCann; PJ O'Connell, L Watson, K McKeegan.

Subs used: B McFall for Shiels (46 mins), E McCloskey for McCann (53), M Herron for McKeegan (69).

Referee: Diarmuid Kirwan (Cork)

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