Antrim survive London scare to win Tailteann clash

IT was a case of job just about done for Antrim at Corrigan Park on Sunday as they scored a 3-11 to 2-10 win over London to move into next weekend's Tailteann Cup quarter-finals.

Going into the game, the Saffrons were firm favourites, but it was far from plain sailing as London were right in the mix until Aghagllon clubman Ruairi McCann hit his second goal of the day deep into added time to finally break the Exiles' resistance.

A Stephen Dornan goal helped London lead 1-1 to 0-0 early on before McCann hit back with his first goal - which was also Antrim's opening score - in the 10th minute and another Exiles major from Michael Carroll enabled the visitors to be on terms at 2-2 to 1-5 at half-time.

A somewhat fortunate Dermot McAleese goal - as his long ball flew directly into the net - helped Antrim lead by five but London twice cut the margin back to one before McCann's injury-time second goal closed out the contest.

Sides level at half-time

McCann's first goal came when he palmed home after Dornan had netted at the other end following Michael Byrne's save to deny Ruairi Rafferty.

Josh Obahor added a London point before the hosts opened their account as a break from Marc Jordan saw him feed Ryan McQuillan and his pass inside was palmed home by Aghagallon's McCann.

After an exchange of scores, London lost Cahir Healy to a back card on 26 minutes for a foot trip, but Antrim while edging ahead with points from Niall Burns and Paddy McAleer, didn't quite take full advantage as their wides count rose, with the tally eventually eight by the interval.

Confidence was flowing for London and it soared further on 29 minutes as Ciarán McKeon cut in along the left end-line and squared for Carroll to palm home.

Antrim drew level by the break thanks to scores from McQuillan and Eunan Walsh to leave it 1-5 to 2-2, but it was the visitors who would have been much the happier at that stage.

The Saffrons began the second half with more purpose as Patrick McBride slung over an early score, but Byrne had to be alert again to deny the outstretched Dornan from fisting home his second goal.

Joseph Finnegan and the industrious Jordan added points and after Carroll hit back with one for London, Antrim notched their second goal in rather fortuitous fashion as McAleese's shot floated in and with McCann making a nuisance of himself at the edge of the square, the ball beat Andrew Walsh and ended up in the net.

That made it 2-8 to 2-3 and as Antrim looked set to kick on, instead it was London who replied with the next four points to reduce the gap back to one.

Substitute Dominic McEnhill then steadied the hosts once again with a brace, but Byrne was again called into action when London substitute PJ O'Flaherty rose to get his fist to a dropping ball that seemed destined for the net until the Saffrons keeper acrobatically tipped it over.

A Ciaran Diver free left one in it with five to play and although Conor Hand hit back for the hosts, it was London pressing for a winning goal in added time.

However, the green flag instead came at the other end with Jordan bursting forward and feeding McCann to finish and settle the argument, easing Antrim's nerves as they go into the hat for Monday's quarter-final draw.

Fermanagh, Down and Kildare are their possible quarter-final opponents with the Saffrons not able to meet Sligo having already met them at the group stage.