Antrim score three goals but fall to second-half Sligo surge

Sligo ran riot in the second half against 14-man Antrim at Markievicz Park to take a comfortable All-Ireland SFC Round 1A Qualifier win.

Antrim score three goals but fall to second-half Sligo surge

Sligo 0-22 Antrim 3-7

Sligo ran riot in the second half against 14-man Antrim at Markievicz Park to take a comfortable All-Ireland SFC Round 1A Qualifier win.

Despite conceding three goals, the Yeatsmen routed their opponents with an irresistible attacking surge on their way to a six points success.

A Matthew Fitzpatrick goal eased the Ulster men into a four points lead 10 minutes into the second period, but they lost Jack Dowling to a straight red and key defender Mark Sweeney to a black card, and thereafter it was one-way traffic.

Stephen Coen and Adrian Marren shared a 13 points haul as the Saffrons were put to the sword in merciless fashion, their season ended after just two championship outings.

Conor Murray swept over a couple of Antrim points as they recovered from a shaky start, and Sligo goalkeeper Aidan Devaney was almost caught out by a CJ McGourty effort which he allowed to bounce against a post.

Sligo too could have had a goal, but Niall Murphy blazed over the bar following a neat inter-play between Adrian McIntyre. John Kelly and Patrick O’Connor.

Mark Sweeney operated a effectively as Saffron sweeper, and Sligo had to work hard and long before defender Eoin McHugh curled over the equaliser in the 18th minute.

With Antrim conceding Devaney’s kick-outs, Sligo were able to build from the back, going in front with Adrian Marron’s second converted free

But the lead changed hands again, McGourty knocking over a couple of frees, and they were level for the sixth time after O’Connor steered over two terrific long range efforts.

Antrim had another goal chance when Ruairi McCann found space in behind the Yeats defence, but smashed his shot wide.

Sligo went in with a 0-7 to 0-6 interval lead, but McGourty shot Antrim in front from a penalty three minutes into the second half.

Paddy McBride, Niall Delargy and Sean McVeigh combined in a flowing move, before Ruairi McCann was fouled by Ross Donavan, and McGourty drilled the kick to the bottom corner of the net.

But four minutes late they were reduced to 14 men when substitute Jack Dowling received a straight red card for a challenge on Mark Breheny.

However, the Saffrons grabbed another goal soon afterwards when Matthew Fitzpatrick’s shot dipped at the last moment and ended in the net.

But the dismissal was compounded by the loss of key man Sweeney on a black card, and Sligo smelt blood and pushed up in all-out attack.

They ran at a crumbling Antrim defence, hitting 11 poonts on the spin to take total control, with Coen and Marron deadly accurate from frees and play.

Hughes, Murphy and substitute Kevin McDonnell also found the range as the margin stretched to eight points.

Antrim had gone almost half an hour without a score when they plundered a third goal through Paddy McBride, but that stoppage time score meant little in terms of the outcome.

Sligo: A Devaney; R Donavan, E McHugh (0-1), C Harrison; Keelan Cawley, B Egan, J Kelly; A McIntyre, P O’Connor (0-2); N Ewing, M Breheny (0-1, f), N Murphy (0-2); S Coen (0-8, 4f), P Hughes (0-2), A Marren (0-5, 3f).

Subs: K McDonnell (0-1) for McHugh (35 + 7), Kyle Cawley for Breheny (43), G O’Kelly-Lynch for Keelan Cawley (52), S Gilmartin for Kelly (63), S Henry for Hughes (67), D Cummins for O’Connor (68), P Laffey for Harrison (75)

Antrim: C Kerr; N Delargey, P Gallagher, C Hamill; P McBride (1-1), D Lynch, P McAleer; S McVeigh, S Beatty; C Murray (0-3); M Fitzpatrick (1-0), M Sweeney; CJ McGourty (1-2, 1-0 pen, 0-2f), T McCann (0-1), R McCann.

Subs: K O’Boyle for McAleer (blood 10-36), O Gallagher for R McCann (24), J Dowling for Beatty (35 +4), P Healy for Sweeney (BC 55), R Murray for McCann (61), B Bradley for McGourty (61)

Referee: F Kelly (Longford).

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