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Antrim battle back for victory

Antrim 0-15 Queen’s 0-14

By Micheal McGeary

Antrim overturned an eight-point first-half lead to see off Queen’s University, Belfast by one point in this final McKenna Cup Group C game at Casement Park.

The introduction of Paddy Cunningham six minutes into the second half proved the key moment of the match, with the classy corner forward scoring four points and proving a thorn in the side of the QUB defence.

Antrim drew level midway through the second half at 0-9 apiece, and although Queen’s pulled away again to lead by three, a late Kevin Brady point sealed the win for Liam Bradley’s men.

Until Cunningham’s introduction, coupled with the move of Michael McCann to midfield, Queen’s had looked in charge and dominated the first half. It took the Saffrons 21 minutes to bag their opening score through Eoin O’Neill but by that stage Queen’s were 0-6 to no score to the good with James Kielt accounting for half of that total.

By the 28th minute they held a 0-9 to 0-1 lead with Antrim struggling to penetrate.

On the half-hour mark Antrim finally produced something worthy of a ripple of applause from the modest home support when James Loughery fed Michael Magill to slot over their second point.

Gerard Walls then fisted a point for Antrim with Brendan Herron slotting over to leave the score 0-9 to 0-4 at the break.

Magill was proving a more effective target man in the second half and set up Loughery for the first of five unanswered points after the restart. The score of the game came from Cunningham on 45 minutes when Antrim swept the full length of the field to add their seventh point, with Loughery adding a similar effort minutes later.

Bradley also had an eye on some of the opposition players as he closes in on his National League squad, and Cargin clubman Justin Crozier popped up with two points for the students to keep himself in the frame.

Cunningham had a half-chance on goal on 63 minutes but chose to hand-pass over the bar to level matters at 0-12 apiece, and moments later he saw a goal-bound effort cleared off the line by Niall McGovern.

Cunningham and Kielt swapped points to keep parity, with Herron and Michael Ward doing likewise as the game approached the end of normal time.

The match looked set for a draw when all square on the 70-minute mark, but Brady’s fisted effort sailed over the bar to nudge Antrim one ahead midway through the four minutes of stoppage time.

Kielt had a chance to earn QUB a share of the spoils but his shot was saved by Antrim keeper Sean McGreevy.

Antrim: S McGreevy; A Douglas, P Doherty, C Maxwell; T Scullion, K McQuillan, J Loughery (0-2); R Boyd, G Walls (0-1); G O’Boyle, E O’Neill (0-1), B Herron (0-2); C Close (0-1), M McCann, M Magill (0-2). Subs: D Gault for A Douglas, P Carey for K McQuillan, P Cunningham (0-4, 1f) for G Walls, K Brady (0-1) for E O’Neill, N O’Connell (0-1) for G O’Boyle

QUB: P Graham; B Martin, N McGovern, H Gallagher; B McAlary, D McBride, L O’Neill; J Kielt (0-6, 5f), S Barton; J Ireland (0-1), J Crozier (0-3), D O’Hagan (0-2); M Ward (0-1f), M Hannick (0-1), G McAleese. Subs: B Cox for S Barton, N McShane for B McAlary

Referee: G Corrigan (Down).

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