Tailteann Cup Group Two 
Antrim 4-12 Tipperary 2-13

ANTRIM got their Tailteann Cup campaign off to a fine start as they found the net four times in victory over Tipperary at Corrigan Park on Sunday.

Andy McEntee's side set the tone with two early majors and although The Premier rallied, the Saffrons netted twice again to seemingly put them in the clear. But the Munster outfit weren't done and rallied once more, yet they couldn't get close enough as Antrim saw it out to grab victory in their opening group fixture.

Tipperary actually opened brighter with a couple of early scores from Conor Sweeney and Sean O'Connor frees, but the hosts didn't take long to find their stride as they attacked with pace and purpose which helped them net their first major after 11 minutes as after Sweeney had struck the post with a gilt-edged goal chance at the other end, Antrim countered and it was Kavan Keenan who applied the fish to a looping Ryan McQuillan pass inside.

They didn't have long to wait for a second green flag as Eunan Walsh emerged upfield and although Evan Comerford saved the full-back's initial effort, the ball cannoned off the Aghagallon man and finished up in the net.

Antrim would build upon these goals and were 2-6 to 0-4 to the good after 25 minutes, but Tipp would rally thanks to the efforts of Sweeney and then they were right back in contention as a long ball broke to Paudie Feehan who finished low past Michael Byrne. 

The hosts would have the final say of the half through Conor Hand as they went in leading 2-6 to 1-7.

There was a sense Tipperary were beginning to gain the upper hand, but just like the first period, Antrim started the second in fine style despite plying into the wind.

A good move through the hands saw Ryan McQuillan find Walsh who popped inside into his Aghagallon club-mate Ruairi McCann who rose to palm to the net just two minutes after the restart. 

Points from McQuillan and Hand would follow that would help them extend the lead back out to seven points.

Niall Burns on the attack

Niall Burns on the attack

Tipperary would grab a lifeline when they were awarded a penalty after Stephen O'Brien had been taken out by Hand when about to pull the trigger and Sweeney converted low into the left corner of the net. But this goal would be wiped out immediately as Keenan played an inviting ball into McCann who stepped around Comerford and finished.

However, Tipperary were far from finished and they began to eat into the lead as Sweeney, Jack Kennedy and Daire Brennan helped narrow the margin to just three with seven to play in normal time, but Antrim would find a reply as substitute Dominic McEnhill clipped over late scores to steady them and Byrne was alert to a Tipperary goal chance as they opened their campaign with a win ahead of next week's trip to Wexford.

ANTRIM: M Byrne; D Lynch, E Walsh (1-0), K Keenan (1-0); N Burns, J Finnegan, D McAleese; P McAleer (0-2), C Hynds; C Hand, P McBride (0-2), R McCann (Creggan, 0-1); R McQuillan (0-3), R McCann (Aghagallon, 2-0), M Jordan.
Subs: C McLarnon for P McAleer (29), D McEnhill (0-2, 1f)for R McCann (Aghagallon 59), A Loughran for M Jordan (65); J McDonnell for K Keenan (68), C McGettigan for R McQuillan (70+5).

TIPPERARY: E Comerford (0-1, 45); T Condon, J Feehan, M Stokes; S Grogan, P Feehan (1-0), C Cadell (0-1); J Morris, S O’Brien; P McGarry (0-1), C Kennedy, T Doyle (0-1); C Sweeney (1-7, 1-0 pen, 0-2f), S O’Connor (0-1f), J Kennedy (Commercials, 0-1).
Subs: E Moloney for C Cadell (26), M Russell for T Doyle (47), L Boland for S O’Brien (47), S O’Connell for T Condon (53), K Costello for J Morris (64).

REFEREE: Kieran Eannetta (Tyrone)