Allianz Football League Division Four
Antrim 2-14 Waterford 0-13
ANTRIM remain marooned in Division Four despite ending their Allianz Football League campaign with a spirited seven-point victory over Waterford in Dundalk.
Other results in the division failed to go in their favour with Sligo’s late comeback against Limerick failing short.
This fixture had been in doubt mid-week when Waterford issued a statement expressing their reservations on travelling to Antrim, but a sporting gesture from Lenny Harbinson’s side saw the game take place at Geraldine’s GAC, south of Dundalk,
Fair play to our men who travelled to Dundalk to keep the integrity of the #AllianzLeague today.— Antrim GAA (@AontroimGAA) October 24, 2020
The talking was done on the pitch but unfortunately we missed out on promotion .
Thank you @GeraldinesGFC for your hospitality today #TopClass
Safe travels home @WaterfordGAA pic.twitter.com/gIYvPiMgaI
Speaking after the game, the Antrim boss said it was important to fulfil the fixture in order to protect the integrity of the league.
“It was disappointing - this was our home game,” said Harbinson.
“We travelled to Wicklow last week, our hurlers travelled to Tullamore and our U20 hurlers travelled to Darver. We are doing all the travelling, but Covid-19 is all over the country. We have our challenges like everybody else and I think it is poor form.
“Even though we won today (Saturday), we wanted to win on the field instead of taking the two points. I thought the integrity of the league was very important so that’s why we, reluctantly, gave up our home venue.”
After last weekend’s stunning 25-point loss in Wicklow, Antrim would have been keen to make a positive start, but it was Waterford who took an early lead with corner-forward Stephen Curry splitting the posts. The Saffrons were soon in command though and points from Paddy McBride and Paddy Cunningham saw them move ahead before they struck for the game’s opening goal.
Centre-back James McAuley crashed a shot off the underside of the crossbar and his Naomh Éanna clubmate Odhran Eastwood was on hand to palm home the rebound to move Antrim 1-2 to 0-1 ahead after 10 minutes.
A fine point-blank from Aaron Beresford denied Marc Jordan from adding a second goal before Eastwood added another fine point while Cunningham finished a superb first-half showing with five points to his credit including a brilliantly-executed sideline.
Waterford wing-back Tony Grey hit two points in the first 35 minutes to keep the Munster side in touch as Antrim led 1-8 to 0-7 at half-time.
Ger Walsh made a hat-trick of changes at half-time and Jack Mullaney made his presence felt with an early point while two long-range efforts from midfielder Jason Curry left the minimum between the sides.
Michael McCann fired over the bar moments later when he had a hint of goal before brother Tomás converted a free to steady the ship further.
The Saffrons finally bagged their second goal to put the game beyond the Déise with McAuley finding the net having came close in the first half.
Waterford ended the game with 14 men after Stephen Curry was shown a straight red for clashing with Murray off the ball and Limerick’s two-point win over Sligo confirmed Antrim’s place in Division Four for next season.
Antrim scorers: P Cunningham (0-5, 0-1f, 0-1SL), O Eastwood (1-1), J McAuley (1-0) T McCann (0-3, 0-2fs), M McCann (0-2), P McBride (0-1), R Murray (0-1), D McAleese (0-1).
Waterford scorers: T Grey (0-3, 0-1m), J Curry (0-2), S Curry (0-2), C Murray (0-2), J Mullaney (0-2), M Curry (0-1), F O’Currin (0-1).