Connor McAliskey scored a goal on his first game for Tyrone in exactly a year as the Red Hands beat Antrim 4-20 to 2-11 in the Athletic Grounds.
The Coalisland forward suffered a cruciate knee injury in the opening Dr McKenna Cup game against Cavan at Kingspan Breffni Park last season, and one year on, raised a green flag in the 41st minute in a comfortable night for Mickey Harte’s side.
Padraig McNulty scored the opening goal before half-time and McAlliskey, Frank Burns, and Niall Sludden also raised green flags.
Kieran McGeeney fielded a strong line-up in Newry last night and was rewarded with an opening round 2-12 to 0-13 win over rivals Down.
Andrew Murnin and Ronan Lappin found the net in the third quarter, building on a good first half’s work after which they led by four points.
Around 2,500 people turned out for this repeat of last year’s Ulster championship first round clash which Down won on their way to the Ulster final. Down were in experimental mode giving Kilcoo player Aaron Morgan a debut with Johnny Bell, Conor Poland, and Colm Flanagan among the other new faces.
Conor Maginn’s superb point against the wind off the outside of his right boot gave Down the lead in the second minute. Armagh made most of the running and once Oisin MacIomhair nailed the first of three first-half frees, they started to dictate the game.
Aidan Forker scored 0-4 (two from frees) in the opening half as Armagh built on a strong start and Crossmaglen defender Paul Hughes, back in the fold after a year’s absence, put them 0-6 to 0-4 ahead after 26 minutes.
Ronan Millar, one of Down’s promising newcomers, landed his third of the half to close the deficit but Armagh scored the last three points before the interval to lead 0-9 to 0-5 at half time.
Within 10 minutes of the restart, Armagh had put the game completely to bed outscoring Down by 2-1 to 0-1 with Andrew Murnin and Ronan Lappin both finding the net.
Mark Shields played Forker through but his shot at goal was palmed out by goalkeeper Shane Harrison. Murnin gathered and thundered a low shot home from the edge of the square after just two minutes.
Lappin goalled eight minutes later, scoring from Greg McCabe’s pass to put Armagh 2-10 to 0-7 ahead.
Kieran McGeeney’s men eased off but Down responded with five points in a row to make a match of it again.
Sub Caolan Mooney scored twice from play with Anthony Doherty converting two long-range frees to cut the gap to 2-10 to 0-12 with 15 minutes left.
Goalscorer Lappin ended a 15-minute scoring for Armagh with a close-range point to see Armagh home.
Rory Gallagher’s reign as Fermanagh boss got off to a winning start, beating Monaghan 2-11 to 0-12 in Enniskillen.
Conal Jones and Aidan Breen got the goals.
New Donegal manager Declan Bonner’s side beat Queen’s 2-12 to 0-6 in Ballybofey, Cavan beat St Mary’s 0-15 to 0-12 and Derry edged University of Ulster 2-14 to 3-10.
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