Armagh 1-17 Antrim 1-7
Venue: Athletic Grounds
A stunning second half showing from Armagh, led by star men Dara O’Callaghan (0-5) and Caolan Reavey (1-4), allowed the U17 side to gain their first 2 points of their league campaign. Although trailing at half time, Armagh outscored the visitors 1-12 to 0-3 in a truly dominating second 30 minutes.
Antrim opened the scoring after two minutes before Reavey levelled matters with a great one-two between Oisin King and Lee Rice freeing up room for Reavey to tap over. Armagh found themselves trailing once more when Antrim scored a second point before a 45 shot fell short into the Armagh square, with an Antrim forward reacting fastest to drive the ball into the Armagh goal to lead 1-2 to 0-1 after 15 minutes.
Armagh reacted superbly to this setback with a smooth, swift attack that saw Mark McKeever to cut inside his marker and slice the ball over the black spot, after a brilliant take in the middle of the field by Jack Cunningham from his sides kick out. Dara O’Callaghan then cut Antrim’s lead to 1 with 2 pointed frees in quick succession.
The sides drew level through O’Callaghan once again, this time with a point from open play, with his midfield partner Cunningham providing the assist. A strong last 5 minutes from Antrim saw them kick a further 2 points, to lead at half time, with the score line now Antrim 1-4 Armagh 0-5.
Armagh’s movement and quick passing in their attack allowed Caolan Reavey to swing over another score before Redmond French ventured forward from his wing half back position and levelled the game. Once again Antrim nudged further ahead with their next attack, kicking a point from close range before getting their second in as many minutes.
It was then Armagh really got into their groove with Oisin King (f), Caolan Reavey, and Mark McKeever all hitting the target to give Armagh the lead for the first time in the game. Antrim registered their 3rd and final point of the half with 20 minutes yet to be played. In the next attack the Orchard County would push further ahead, with that man Reavey palming home from close range after the hard work had been done by King and Ciaran Donnelly.
Reavey was once again the man who drove his side on, sending another between the posts. It was Armagh’s ability to continually win the Antrim kickouts which provided them with the platform to demonstrate their dominance. O’Callaghan raced forward from the middle of the park to score 2 more points to leave 6 the margin.
King turned provided with an assist to Niall Dummigan’s pointed effort while converting another 3 free kicks himself, bringing his personal tally to 0-4. Antrim not only lost their way somewhat in the second period, but also lost their discipline, receiving 2 straight red cards as well as a black card. Armagh now face the challenge of Ulster Champions Monaghan in their 3rd round tie, in Clones next weekend.
Armagh Team: Cathal Doherty, Peter McGrane, Adam Garvey, Shea Vallely, Michael McConville, Sean McVerry, Redmond French, Jack Cunningham, Dara O’Callaghan (0-5, 2 frees), Lee Rice, Caolan Reavey (1-4), Niall Dummigan (0-1), Mark McKeever (0-2), Ciaran Donnelly, Oisin King (0-4, 4 frees)
Subs: Antoin McParland for L. Rice, Shea Harvey for P. McGrane, Thomas Og Duffy for R. French, James Walsh for J. Cunningham, Kevin Robinson for C. Donnelly
By Shaun Casey