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Fitzsimons prefers to see positives

Antrim manager Frank Fitzsimons insisted that there were positives to take from his side's opening day defeat to Tipperary in Division Three of the Allianz Football League.

An encouraging opening half saw Antrim lead by four points - 0-7 to 0-3 - before they took a 0-7 to 0-5 lead with them down the tunnel at half-time.

But Tipp, who had struggled to break through Antrim's massed ranks in the first half, went more direct in the second and made serious inroads at Semple Stadium.

Both of Tipperary's goals, from All-Star Michael Quinlivan and Philip Austin, came from long deliveries from Alan Moloney, and Conor Sweeney assists.

Quinlivan netted in the 56th minute and Austin was on target six minutes from time as Tipp, beaten All-Ireland semi-finalists last year and promotion favourites, got off to a winning start in front of 722 spectators.

On the stroke of half-time, impressive forward Ryan Murray received a black card, a decision that left the player aghast.

Fitzsimons brought on CJ McGourty, who scored two of his four points from play. But McGourty missed a couple of opportunities, too, and on a day when missed chances proved costly for Antrim, they were left to rue those on the long trip home.

"Tough to take - Tipp are a very good side," said Fitzsimons.

"We came down here and nobody gave us a chance only ourselves but we were well in it there at times. A wee bit of experience from last year took over at the end there."

Both teams finished the game with 14 players as Tipp had used all six subs when they lost a second player, Willie Connors, to a black card. Antrim were a man light for the final seconds when Conor Murray was dismissed for a second bookable offence.

Tipperary scorers: P Austin 1-2, C Sweeney 0-4 (2f), M Quinlivan 1-0, J Keane 0-2f, K Fahey, R Kiely, L McGrath (f) & B Fox 0-1 each.

Antrim scorers: CJ McGourty 0-4 (2f), R Murray 0-3 (2f, 1 sl), P McBride & M Fitzpatrick 0-2 each, P McAteer & C Murray 0-1 each.

Belfast Telegraph