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Antrim promotion bid in tatters after injury blow

Tipperary 1-11 Antrim 1-6: Antrim's Allianz Football League Division Four promotion hopes were extinguished by Tipperary at Semple Stadium.

The hosts claimed a six-point victory in Thurles and a win away to Leitrim next time out would see the Premier County claim Division Three football in 2015.

Again, Antrim leaked a big score as Tipp forwards Barry Grogan and Conor Sweeney combined for 3-14.

Brian Neeson, a late call-up to the Antrim starting line-up, bagged 2-8 for the visiting Saffrons but it wasn't enough.

Antrim's misery was compounded in the second half when Niall McKeever and Benny Hasson picked up black cards.

And manager Liam Bradley's injury list lengthened as Tony Scullion suffered a hamstring injury in the first half before Kevin Niblock made way in the second half with a twisted knee.

Bradley admitted: "We need our good players back on the field, defensively. We were missing Kevin O'Boyle and Ricky Johnson, players like that today.

"I have no doubt if those players were on the field, we wouldn't have conceded that amount.

Neeson netted the opening goal but Antrim were rocked by quickfire strikes from Grogan and Sweeney approaching half-time.

Grogan goaled in the 31st minute and provider Sweeney turned poacher himself to hand Tipp a 2-9 to 1-6 half-time lead.

Antrim were just three points behind by the 48th minute but when McKeever hauled down Donagh Leahy with a last-ditch challenge, Grogan made no mistake from the resultant penalty.

Six points down once again, Antrim rallied through that man Neeson.

Grogan and Justin Crozier traded points but Tipp finished strongly to claim maximum points.

TIPPERARY: P Fitzgerald; G Mulhair, P Codd, J Coughlan; R Kiely, P Acheson, D Leahy; G Hannigan (0-1), I Fahey; C McCullagh (0-1), B Fox (0-1), P Austin (0-2); C Sweeney (1-7, 0-3f), B Grogan (2-7, 1-0 pen, 0-3f, 0-1 45), M Quinlivan (0-1). Subs: C Dillon for McCullagh (44), S O'Brien for Fahey (48), A Matassa for Quinlivan (52), T Hassett for Austin (69).

ANTRIM: C Kerr; P McBride (0-1), M Johnson, N Delargy; T Scullion, J Crozier (0-1), J Laverty; S McVeigh, N McKeever (0-1); M Sweeney, K Niblock (0-1), M McCann (0-1); B Neeson (2-8, 0-4f), B Hasson, M Pollock (0-3). Subs: M McAleese for Scullion (19), R McGrady (0-1) for McKeever (b/c, 51), P Maguire for Niblock (53), D McAleese for Hasson (b/c 68), C O'Rawe for Laverty (68).

Referee: S Joy (Kerry).

Belfast Telegraph

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