Tipperary 0-10 Antrim 0-8


GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Qualifiers Round 3: Tipperary 0-10 Antrim 0-8

Tipperary are through to Round 4 of the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Qualifiers after a narrow defeat of Antrim at sunny Semple Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Peter Creedon’s charges made a great start and were 0-5 to 0-1 up after 25 minutes, but the Saffrons came charging back and had the gap down to two points, 0-6 to 0-4, at the break and were level within eight minutes of the restart.

Antrim looked to have all the momentum, but Tipperary regrouped brilliantly and hit the final two scores of the game, through Brian Mulvihill and Alan Maloney, to win in a gripping finale.

Maloney was the Premier County hero, scoring 0-6 of their total, including three points from play, but it was the Tipperary defence that once again deserves all the plaudits for maintaining their discipline in the closing stages when the Saffrons threw everything at them.

Indeed, it could well have been Antrim facing into a high-profile Round 4 clash with the Ulster final losers had Michael McCann not pulled a late goal chance wide in added time.

After a slow start to the game, Tipperary found their feet first and led in the sixth minute when Maloney landed a free. Maloney made a great start to the game and would score twice more from play before Michael Quinlivan also added his name to the scoresheet to give Peter Creedon’s side a 0-4 to 0-0 lead by the quarter hour mark.

Antrim took a full 19 minutes to register their first score, which came from the boot of Tomás McCann, but the Saffrons struggled badly in the wide open spaces of Semple Stadium until manager Liam Bradley decided to drop an extra defender back.

George Hannigan nudged the home side back into a four-point lead, while the Saffrons registered seven wides in the first 25 minutes before the first half finished with a flurry of scores.

Simon McDonaghy pulled one back for Antrim before Maloney hit his fourth, but the visitors came with a well-timed burst just before the break, with wing-back James Loughrey hitting two points from play to cut the game to just two at half-time.

After a largely incident-free 35 minutes’ football, the two minutes of time added on contained plenty of drama, and Tipperary might well have hit the back of the net just before the whistle but captain Philip Austin pulled his shot wide when presented with a great chance.

The Saffrons hit the first two points of the second half, through Tomás McCann and Kevin Brady, to draw level by the 43rd minute.

It was low scoring but utterly absorbing as Maloney and defender Donagh Leahy put Tipp back into the lead, before Michael Magill leveled matters for the last time in the 58th minute.

However, it was the Munster side who kicked on in the closing stages, with sub Mulvihill putting them back into the lead with five minutes left and Maloney grabbing the insurance score at the death.

Tipperary Scorers: A Maloney 0-6 (0-3f), M Quinlivan 0-1 (0-1f), G Hannigan 0-1, D Leahy 0-1, B Mulvihill 0-1

Antrim Scorers: T McCann 0-2 (0-1f), S McDonagh 0-1, J Loughrey 0-2, K Brady 0-1, M McCann 0-1, M Magill 0-1

Tipperary: P Fitzgerald; A Morrissey, P Codd, C McDonald; B Fox, R Kiely, A Campbell; G Hannigan, H Coghlan; R Ryan, A Maloney, D Leahy; M Quinlivan, P Acheson, P Austin.

Antrim: C Kerr; A Healy, R Johnston, K O’Boyle; T Scullion, J Crozier, J Loughrey; M McCann, S McDonagh; C Murray, M Sweeney, K Niblock; T McCann, K Brady, M Johnston.

Referee: Eddie Kinsella

Attendance: 2,563