Tipp get past valiant Antrim

Tipperary -10 Antrim 0-08

Tipp get past valiant Antrim

Tipperary -10 Antrim 0-08

Late points from Brian Mulvihill and Alan Maloney shot Tipperary through to the last round of the All-Ireland SFC qualifier as Antrim came a-cropper in Thurles.

The Saffrons fought valiantly to get back on level terms three times in the second half, however the home side enjoyed the better finish.

Substitute Mulvihill profited from a tremendous fetch by Peter Acheson to nudge Tipp ahead again at 0-9 to 0-8, and Maloney completed the scoring with his sixth of the day.

The Rockwell Rovers clubman was hugely influential in the first half, landing the game’s opening three points as the Glensmen fell 0-5 to 0-1 behind.

It took Antrim a full 18 minutes to get on the scoreboard but they made decent headway before the break with two late James Loughrey scores cutting the gap to 0-6 to 0-4.

This third round tie was tantalisingly poised as Kevin Brady, Michael McCann and substitute Michael Magill all kicked levelling points as the hour mark approached.

But despite clocking up 11 wides in the second period, Peter Creedon’s men got the scores they needed to see off the Saffrons’ challenge.

More Ulster opposition awaits them in the fourth round - they will face the losers of tomorrow’s Ulster SFC final between Donegal and Down.

Both Tipp and Antrim upset the odds in the second round qualifiers, dumping Wexford and Galway out of the Championship respectively, but the Saffrons seemed to lack that spark in the opening exchanges.

Maloney, Tipp’s centre-forward, left-footed a 20-metre free to get the hosts off the mark in the sixth minute.

Antrim boss Liam Bradley made two late switches with Kevin Brady added to midfield and Simon McDonagh selected at full-forward, and they had to bide their time before getting into the game.

Maloney fired over a point from play after George Hannigan had been blocked and the former struck his third in the 13th minute, with Acheson prospering in the half-forwards.

Michael Quinlivan (free) and Tomas McCann swapped points as Antrim broke their scoring duck, and Bradley’s decision to move Mark Sweeney into the half-backs soon paid off.

Antrim were able to break in numbers from deep and although they had posted seven wides by the half hour mark, they were much more competitive overall.

Midfielder Hannigan took a pass from Maloney to lob over Tipp’s fifth point, but they could only muster one more before the break with Maloney again on target.

Antrim crept closer with McDonagh finishing off a well-worked move and Loughrey landed a quick-fire brace, with that reinforced Saffrons defence allowing the wing back to burst forward to very good effect.

Antrim continued to hold the momentum on the restart, with a Tomas McCann '45' and a Brady effort from play erasing Tipperary’s lead.

The sides shared out the next four points as Michael McCann and Magill cancelled out scores from Maloney (free) and Donagh Leahy, who split the posts in the 54th minute.

The 2,563-strong crowd were gripped by the action despite a general lack of quality, with some of the build-up play and finishing proving disappointing.

In the end, Tipp showed the necessary guts and class to shake off Antrim although their fans breathed a collective sigh of relief when a Michael McCann goal chance flew past Paul Fitzgerald and went wide.

Creedon’s charges had an extra reason to celebrate at the final whistle as the win marks the first time Tipperary have won three Championship matches in the same season since 1998.

Scorers - Tipperary: A Maloney 0-6 (0-3f), M Quinlivan (0-1f), G Hannigan, P Acheson, B Mulvihill 0-1 each

Antrim: T McCann (0-2f), J Loughrey 0-2 each, S McDonagh, K Brady, M McCann, M Magill 0-1 each

TIPPERARY: Paul Fitzgerald; Andrew Morrissey, Paddy Codd, Ciarán McDonald; Brian Fox, Robbie Kiely, Alan Campbell; George Hannigan, Hugh Coghlan; Richie Ryan, Alan Maloney, Donagh Leahy; Michael Quinlivan, Peter Acheson, Philip Austin.

ANTRIM: Chris Kerr; Anton Healy, Ricky Johnston, Kevin O'Boyle; Tony Scullion, Justin Crozier, James Loughrey; Michael McCann, Kevin Brady; Conor Murray, Mark Sweeney, Kevin Niblock; Tomas McCann, Simon McDonagh, Marty Johnston.

Referee: Eddie Kinsella (Laois)

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