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Antrim are left furious at ref after running out of time

Sligo 0-15 Antrim 0-14

Sligo defeated Antrim by the narrowest of margins at Markievicz Park yesterday, but the visitors were incensed at referee Niall McKenna's decision not to play more injury-time after Paddy Cunningham's late free.

With the allotted four minutes of stoppage time already played, Cunningham knocked over a 35m free to leave a point between the sides following Paddy O'Connor's crude challenge on Declan Lynch, which earned the Sligo skipper a black card.

However, McKenna blew the full-time whistle after Aidan Devaney's kick-out - prompting a protest from Antrim players.

Saffrons boss Lenny Harbinson claimed that the Monaghan whistler told Cunningham he would play an additional 30 seconds after the free.

"The referee told him (Cunningham) there would be another 30 seconds after the next kick-out," said Harbinson. "Otherwise, Paddy would have dropped it in around the square. Okay, you are going for a Hail Mary effort, but that's not what lost us the game."

The Saffrons struggled to win possession from their own kick-outs throughout and were probably a little fortunate to only be 0-9 to 0-8 in arrears at half-time with Cunningham hitting four points, three from frees.

The third quarter was very stop-start with Antrim defender Peter Healy making a series of excellent blocks, but Harbinson's side were reduced to 14 men for 10 minutes when half-time substitute Kevin Quinn was issued a black card.

Antrim weathered the storm well despite conceding three unanswered points in quick succession, as points from play from Cunningham and Colum Duffin meant they were only one behind when Quinn returned.

Cunningham missed a chance to level with four minutes of normal time remaining before O'Connor put two between the teams from a free on 70 minutes.

Sligo tried to run down the clock with Murphy picking up a second yellow for kicking the ball into the dug-out while O'Connor was shown a black for hauling down Lynch with time almost up. Cunningham's last-ditch free ensured just one point separated the teams, but it was Sligo who sealed the two league points on offer.

Scorers: Sligo: P O'Connor (0-6, 0-4fs), R Murphy (0-3), L Gaughan (0-3, 0-2fs), S Carrabine (0-1), D Cummins (0-1), K Cawley (0-1).

Antrim scorers: P Cunningham (0-8, 0-6fs), C Murray (0-2), D Lynch (0-1), E Walsh (0-1), C Duffin (0-1), O Eastwood (0-1, 0-1OM).

Belfast Telegraph