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Saffrons warm to task of breaking the ice in fine style


By John Campbell

The big freeze may have exacted its toll on the Bank of Ireland Dr McKenna Cup but it had a rather different effect on new Antrim boss Lenny Harbinson.

Following their encouraging performance against trophy-holders Tyrone in midweek, the Saffrons warmed the cockles of their manager's heart by providing his first taste of competitive success in a fine 4-11 to 2-13 win over Cavan at Woodlands.

If he was perhaps slightly discomfited by what his team conceded, then Harbinson nonetheless had considerable reason for satisfaction after Conor Murray (2), Ryan Murray and Paddy McBride fired in the goals that underpinned his team's victory.

Mattie McGleenan's Breffni outfit had been boosted by their opening round win over St Mary's but yesterday they found the Saffrons in uncompromising mood.

And Harbinson, while pleased at the finish, has already his sights set on further progress.

"It was great to get off the mark in this fashion and now our focus is on St Mary's on Wednesday night. We still believe we are in the frame for a semi-final place," maintains Harbinson.

Antrim led by three points at half-time - this, too, after they had conceded a second-minute goal when Bryan Magee fisted home for the visitors.

But Conor Murray and McBride found the Cavan net while impressive substitute Ryan Murray joined his brother Conor in completing the Saffrons' goal glut.

Niall McKiernan grabbed Cavan's second goal while Enda Flanagan, Oisin Kiernan and Niall Clerkin also impressed.

If Antrim's win has provided added intrigue to Section A, then the manner in which the Section B programme was wiped out means there will be a delay in determining the semi-finals line-up. Down were initially due to meet UUJ at Downpatrick but the game was then switched to Burren before eventually being called off.

The scheduled Armagh v Derry tie at the Athletic Grounds suffered a similar fate.

The Monaghan v Donegal match which was to take place at Clones also fell victim to the weather.

It is expected that details of re-arranged fixtures will be revealed later today.

Belfast Telegraph

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