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Sambo fires out a warning as Antrim eye League step-up

Antrim 2-18 Armagh 2-11

By John Campbell

A vision of life in more elevated surroundings is beginning to form for Antrim after this hard-earned Allianz Hurling League Division 2B win over Armagh yesterday, but team management spokesman Sambo McNaughton believes that ‘must do better’ should form the basis of any assessment of the team’s performance.

“I thought we were again wasteful and we were shooting from places that we should not have been shooting from. No, we are a work in progress,” insisted McNaughton.

Fourteen wides, occasional lapses in defence and a failure to protect their possession hinted broadly at Antrim’s shortcomings.

Yet the positives glistened too. Substitute Deaghlan Murphy swept over seven points in the last quarter to steer his side to safety, Conor McKinley and Simon McCrory toiled relentlessly in midfield, while Conor McCann, Ciaran Clarke and Conor Johnston formed the cutting edge in attack.

Armagh stayed on their visitors’ shoulder for the most part, Clarke’s 22nd-minute opportunist goal proving central to sustaining Antrim’s self-belief.

But when Cathal Carvill drilled in Armagh’s first goal in the 48th minute deadlock ensued at 1-9 each, and suddenly Antrim were overtaken by palpitations.

Cue the arrival of super-sub Murphy and suddenly the pendulum swung more dramatically in their favour, his seven points in just over 20 minutes cementing the path to victory.

Antrim scorers: Murphy 0-7 (5f), Clarke 1-3 (1 pen),  McCann 1-2,  McKinley, Johnston 0- 2 each, Campbell, McNaughton 0-1 each.

Armagh scorers: C Carvill 2-3, D Carvill, 0-5 (5f), McKenna, Gorman, Magee 0-1 each.

Referee: David Hughes (Carlow).

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