McCann inspires Saffrons
ANTRIM climbed off the foot of Division Four with a convincing victory over London in Creggan.
Playing with the aid of a stiff breeze in the first half, the Exiles put in a committed first 35 minutes to go in just a point in arrears.
However, on the resumption, the Saffrons signalled their intentions as, within seconds, Tomas McCann struck a point after being supplied by Sean McVeigh.
Thereafter, Antrim piled the pressure on a London side who could not cope with the strong running and desire to get forward which the Antrim players displayed. The Saffrons had impressive performers in Sean McVeigh, Niall McKeever, Tomas McCann, Brian Neeson and sweeper Mark Sweeney in particular.
After the game, Antrim boss Liam Bradley was simply relieved that the Saffrons had got back to winning ways - but also saw significant room for improvement.
"We had to stop the rot and we have done that today," said the Glenullin man. "Our main aim now is to kick on from this and see if we can get back-to-back victories."
"We are pleased about the two points but we still conceded 1-10 which we would not be happy about and the reason we conceded a lot of that was that we lost the ball up front.
"We weren't economical enough either. If we are going to make any headway during the summer then we have got to be more clinical.
"I know that we scored 3-15 but it could have been double that."
The Exiles started in determined fashion and registered the opening point from the boot of former Tyrone star Cathal McCarron in the second minute.
They were three up by the ninth minute after further points from Joe Feeney and another from McCarron. By this stage, London had certainly settled better into the game as Antrim were finding it difficult against the wind and the dogged, organised defence of Paul Coggins' London side.
The Saffrons' first score came from a pointed free from Brian Neeson on 14 minutes.
The remainder of the half was largely tit-for-tat as Antrim steadily worked their way into the match. That they were able to do so was helped in no small measure by the introduction of Tomas McCann for Patrick McBride after 22 minutes.
The Cargin man was a revelation, finishing with 2-3 but he got through a mountain of work besides that. He grabbed the first goal just four minutes after coming on when his goalbound shot was deflected in off Phillip Butler.
Antrim then dominated the second half, outscoring their opponents 2-9 to 1-3. A second McCann goal with 20 minutes remaining put them seven in front and the game was, to all intents and purposes, over.
Paul Coggins was visibly annoyed at the capitulation of his charges, but insisted they would be able to pick themselves up.
"We are disappointed," said Coggins.
"We are down at the minute because we know that we are better than that display and we are going to make sure we show that to people before the end of this season."
Antrim: R Hanna; K O'Boyle, R Johnson,
N Delargy; J Laverty, M Johnson, J Crozier;
N McKeever (0-2), S McVeigh (0-1); C Murray, M Sweeney (0-1), P McBride; B Neeson (1-5, 0-2 frees), M McCann, M Pollock (0-2). Subs: T McCann (2-3, 0-1 free) for Patrick McBride (23), CJ McGourty for J Crozier (46), A Taylor (0-1) for B Neeson (57), R Murray for C Murray (62), D Lynch for J Laverty (62),
P Kelly for N McKeever (70).
Yellow cards: M McCann (17), N Delargy (34).
London: A Faherty; B Collins, S Curran,
P Butler; S Hannon, S Mulligan, D McCarthy; M Gottsche (0-2, 0-1 free), M Carroll;
G Crowley, D Dunleavy (0-2, 0-1 free),
C McCarron (0-2); A Bradley, J Feeney (0-1), B Mitchell (0-1 free). Subs: M Walsh (1-0) for D McCarthy (29), S Kelly (0-1) for A Bradley (37), D McGreevy for B Collins (41), L Colfer (0-1) for J Feeney (47), C Magee for B Mitchell (51)
Yellow cards: A Faherty (17) Black cards: D McGreevy (52)
Referee: Eamon O'Grady (Leitrim)
n NEES WORK: Antrim forward Brian Neeson gets away from London's Philip Butler in Creggan yesterday Picture: Colm O'Reilly