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Peden urging Antrim to raise the bar after battling into Cup semis


No way through: Antrim’s Conor Carson tries to battle his way past the Roscommon defence as Cathal Dolan (left) tries to stop him

No way through: Antrim’s Conor Carson tries to battle his way past the Roscommon defence as Cathal Dolan (left) tries to stop him

No way through: Antrim’s Conor Carson tries to battle his way past the Roscommon defence as Cathal Dolan (left) tries to stop him

Antrim were given a reminder that life in the Christy Ring Cup is not all smooth sailing after they required a captain's goal from Conor Carson to arrest a three-point gap that Roscommon had carved out midway through the second-half.

That tied the teams at 1-11 each and from that point on, the Saffrons' slight edge showed as they added another three points - an Eddie McCloskey special a particular highlight - before Ciaran Clarke slipped Nigel Elliott in to bury to the net.

Until that point, Roscommon played the role of underdogs pretty well with Jerry Fallon from the dead ball, and Cillian Egan with his four points from play, causing bother. It may have been a different outcome had manager Justin Campbell kept Fallon on the pitch.

Antrim joint-manager Dominic McKinley dedicated the win that puts them in the semi-finals in three weeks to the memory of former county secretary Gerry Barry, whose passing was marked with a minute's silence.

And fellow boss Neal Peden said: "It wasn't such a good day. We were a bit lethargic. In the first-half we weren't getting in the game at all, things weren't working out for us. We weren't getting the ball to go where we wanted, so it is something we are going to have to work on."

The ball kept flying off palms and sticks, and nothing was sticking. They say some teams can drag you down to their level, but Antrim at times were nothing more than sloppy.

Peden said: "I wasn't overly nervous, but I felt we were a bit loose. Our touch wasn't as good as it has been. It was one of those days. But we came out on top and we are happy with the win."

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He also admitted that Antrim have a target on their back.

"We are the scalp," said the St John's man. "That's where we are but we are not thinking ahead. We just want to do well and get a bit of confidence back.

"We had 26 or 27 players with good ability and we have to be confident in them. It is an attitude, they have to get the attitude right and we think we can do well. Anybody can come out with a performance and we have to match that."

Antrim will probably be without Ciaran Johnston for the semi-final, with initial reports suggesting a nasty leg injury.

In Saturday's Nicky Rackard fixtures, Tyrone fell to Longford at home and it leaves them in a promotion/relegation battle. Armagh's hopes were also dashed after they fell to Mayo 1-11 to 0-22. Donegal beat Fermanagh 3-15 to 3-11 and Monaghan lost to Fingal 3-14 to 2-19.

ANTRIM: C O'Connell; P Burke, T McCloskey, R McCambridge; O McFadden, N McAuley, E Campbell; Ciaran Johnston, E McCloskey 0-1; N McKenna 0-1, C Carson 1-0 (C), J Dillon 0-1; J Connolly 0-4, S McAfee, C Clarke 0-7, 4f.

Subs: M Dudley for McAfee (26m), N Elliott 1-0, for C Johnston (28m), F Donnelly for T McCloskey (63m), B Graham for Burke (65m), C Duffin for McKenna (68m). Yellow cards: McKenna (14), Carson (45)

ROSCOMMON: Roscommon: N Fallon; I Delaney, P Kellehan, L Kilcline; A Moore, M Kelly (0-1), J Kilkenny; E Flanagan, C Dolan (0-3); T Seale, T Fetherston, J Fallon (0-4, 0-3fs); C Egan (0-4), R O'Meara, A Murphy.

Subs: J Lawlor (1-0) for Seale (26mins), S Curley for A Moore (44mins), N Connaughton for Fallon (56mins), G Keenan for Murphy (60mins), T Doyle for O'Meara (67mins)

Yellow cards: Seale (34mins), Moore (44mins), Kellehan (65mins), Connaughton (70mins)

Referee: John Keane (Galway)


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