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In The Irish News on March 23 1997: Antrim hurlers outclassed by Cork

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN...Antrim’s Terence McNaughton leaves Cork’s Pat Mulcahy behind at Casement Park. Picture: Ann McManus

THIS must have been a deeply worrying day for Antrim manager Dominic McKinley. The Antrim boss admitted afterwards his side had been outclassed by a far superior outfit in Cork 4-21 to 2-11.

The 4-21 scoreline tells its own story about the kind of day the Antrim defence endured. The 2-11 isn’t an accurate barometer of the progress of the Antrim attack as Sean Paul McKillop’s two goals were poached late on when Cork were probably already thinking ahead to next week’s tougher assignment against Waterford.

Antrim’s defeat in Trim against a limited Meath team had been pretty grim. But yesterday on home turf it appeared as though the Saffrons had hit the hurling basement in Casement.

The basic skill of getting the sliothar into the hand was lacking in so many of the Antrim players.

Terence McNaughton, even though he picked up a crack to the head in the opening seconds, tried manfully but too many of the other Saffron players seemed a tad disinterested with proceedings.

Debut boys Aidan Delargy and Ruairi McNaughton tried hard but made little impact.

Cork’s attackers, in particular Deane and Ronan Dwane, were getting in front of their markers with ridiculous ease while the rebel county’s half-back line of Kelleher, Brian Corcoran and youngster Sean Og O’hAilpin were comfortably snuffing out any Antrim attacks.

Antrim: S Elliot, P Jennings, A McAteer, S McIlhatton, R Donnelly, G O’Kane, T McNaughton, E Graham, S P McKillop (2-1), Gregory O’Kane (0-1), C McCambridge (0-7), J Connolly (0-1), A Delargy (0-1), R McNaughton, P Graham Subs: G Maybin for Jennings (half time), P Donnelly for P Graham (45 mins).

Cork: G Cunningham, F Ryan, P Mulcahy, D O’Sullivan, T Kelleher (0-2), B Corcoran, S Og O’hAilpin (0-1), M Daly (0-1), F McCormack (0-1), R Dwane (0-4), A

Cummins, S McGrath (0-1), G Manley (2-4), A Browne (0-2), J Deane (2-5). Subs: J O’Driscoll for Ryan (53 mins), B Egan for McCormack (56 mins).

Referee: J Gribben (Down)

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TALK of relegation was dismissed in the Tyrone dressing-room. And with another bite of the cherry in a week’s time against Cavan, Tyrone can improve, according to their captain Peter Canavan.

The Red Hands lost this relegation play-off 2-9 to 1-9 at Clones.

“Another run-out on this pitch will help us in the build-up to the championship and we can play much better than we did today.”

Canavan, making his first start in seven months, conceded he was still a long way off complete match fitness.

“My legs seized up in the second half and it’s clear that I’m not 100 per cent fit yet. I didn’t see too much of the ball in the second half.”

It has been a long time since one point from a free was the only score from Peter Canavan in a match, but his fellow forwards’ lack of penetration was a big factor in their downfall.

Canavan acknowledged Tyrone had only played for 30 to 40 minutes.

“I don’t know whether we ran out of steam after that or whether Meath were just a lot fitter than us, but definitely the better team won on the day.”

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Handball: Peter McAuley became the All-Ireland Senior Singles champion for a second time, as he overcame the brave challenge of St Paul’s Stevie Madden in a

thrilling match 21-17, 21-11 at the St Paul’s GAC on Saturday.

The match was played at a frantic pace as both players sought to force errors with powerful serving and quick kills.

Indeed the Antrim man had the better of the early exchanges and led at 17-16 in the first game as the home crowd roared him on. But some excellent retrievals by the Louth champion prevented Madden from opening up a decisive gap and McAuley regained the serve.

Four unstoppable serves gave McAuley game ball and although Madden did force him out at 20-17, he couldn’t capitalise and the chance to snatch the first game had slipped away.

 

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