Monaghan in command as sad Antrim struggle
Antrim 0-09 Monaghan 2-20
Monaghan cantered to a 17-point victory over a disappointing Antrim in yesterday's Dr McKenna Cup round two game to leave them on the brink of a place in the semi-final.
After early scores from Michael Brannigan and Kieran Hughes for Monaghan, the hosts actually held their own with Conor Small kicking a fine score and Kevin Niblock securing two marks at midfield as Antrim held possession.
Monaghan initially had no such issues with scores from Neil McAdam and Shane Carey extending their lead to three.
Antrim finally got their second when the lively Seamus McGarry kicked a great point, but within 60 seconds the hosts had conceded 1-1 through Colin Walshe.
Monaghan grew in confidence and the scores followed as they hit four of the final five points of the half to take a 1-9 to 0-3 lead into the break.
Antrim did come out firing at the beginning of the second half with Ruairi Scott pointing before Seamus McGarry kicked two in as many minutes to leave just six between the teams, but this would be as good as it would get for Antrim who just seemed to stop when Monaghan replied with three of their own.
Ryan Murray did kick a free for Antrim, but it was brief respite as Monaghan completely took over with substitutes Ryan Wylie, Barry McGinn, Conor McCarthy and Niall Kearns all getting on the scoresheet
After a Tomás McCann free at the other end, Monaghan got their second goal on 61 minutes from a Shane Carey penalty after he had been taken down.
This was the icing on the cake for Monaghan who were able to coast home with two scores from McCarthy either side of a McCann score to seal an impressive win.
ANTRIM: C Kerr; C Hamill, P Gallagher, N Delargy; E Walsh, J Laverty, P McBride; S Beatty, K Niblock; D Lynch, R Scott (0-2), R Murray (0-1 free); S McGarry (0-3), S Tully, C Small (0-1). Subs: P Brannigan for N Delargy, C Murray for K Niblock (30 mins), T McCann (0-2, 1 free) for S Tully (HT), O Lenehan for E Walsh (HT), R McCann (Aghagallon) for S Beatty (53 mins).
MONAGHAN: C Forde; O Coyle, D Wylie, N McKeown; K Duffy, N McAdam (0-1), C Walshe (1-1); B Greenan, K Hughes (0-5, 4 frees); K O'Connell, K McQuaid (0-1), S Carey (1-3, 1-0 penalty, 0-1 free); D Malone, T Kerr (0-1), M Brannigan (0-1). Subs: B McGinn (0-2) for M Brannigan (34 mins), N Kearns (0-1) for B Greenan (HT), C McCarthy (0-3) for T Kerr (HT), R Wylie (0-1) for D Wylie (48 mins), S McCabe for K O'Connell (55 mins), A Lynch for K Hughes (56 mins).
Referee: Ciaran Branagan (Down)