Dubs give Antrim a reality check
By Conor Martin
Antrim were given a reality check when they were blown away by a dominant Dublin side who were out to prove a point as the men from the capital city won 3-31 to 0-22 in Navan.
From the first whistle Dublin were in control throughout the match. In the first half Donal Burke carried on his fine run of form and scored six points alone to add to Dublin’s total in the first period. Burke would go on to claim man of the match and another five points in the second spell of 35+ mins as he finished with (0-11).
But despite Dublin’s grip on the game. Antrim did have a chance to lay down a marker early on when the Saffrons Conal Cunning troubled the backline and the Dubs goalkeeper Alan Nolan was called into action as he scrambled to keep Cunning out with a cracking save 15 minutes into the match. However Burke who had another fine game hit two points just before the water break gave Dublin some daylight between them and their opponents.
Dublin carried on this form after the quick break for some refreshment when play resumed and their two-point margin soon turned into five, corner- back Eoghan O'Donnell, gave himself a taste of the forward life and scored a textbook classy score as the Dubs extended their lead.
Soon after, Cian O’Sullivan grabbed the first goal of the game, as he darted towards goal and smashed his effort into the top corner beyond Ryan Elliot who wouldn’t have kept out the effort even if there were two of him in goal.
Dublin’s tails were firmly up and went into the break with an eight point lead.
Antrim had a lot to do in the second-half and James McNaughton got his side a point to the tally in an effort to steady the ship and halt the Dublin attack.
But the Saffrons were the victims of their own downfall. Dublin extended their advantage, largely thanks to a combination of Burke and mistakes from the Glensmen.
Any hope of a Antrim revival was quickly dismissed when Ronan Hayes neatly tucked home for Dublin's second goal in the final play before the water break, and a third goal for the Dubs when Cian Boland reacted quickest to sloppiness from the Antrim backline as they and their keeper Elliot failed to deal with a long high ball into the square which fell the way of the Dublin man.
Despite the mountain they were climbing now looking like Everest. Antrim kept ticking the scores over, and captain Conor McCann getting on the board which will be small consolation for those of an Antrim persuasion as they look ahead once the dust from this weekend has settled. However Antrim’s day was summed up when substitute Ryan McGarry was shown a straight red card in the final moments as Dublin wrapped up a 18 point win.
Dublin face Galway in the Leinster semi-final next weekend. Whilst Antrim face a battle to keep their season alive with a tasty fixture against Laois next month.
Dublin: Nolan, Smyth, O'Donnell (0-1), O'Callaghan, Gray, Rushe, Madden, McBride (0-1), C Burke, Sutcliffe (0-4), D Burke (0-11), C Crummey (0-3), Boland (1-0), Hayes (1-3), O'Sullivan (1-2).
Substitutes: Brennan, Dunphy, Moran (0-1), O'Dea, Malone, Whitley (0-1), Keogh, Hetherton, O'Rorke (0-1), P Crummy (0-1), Treacy.
Antrim: R Elliott, D McMullan, Walsh, Rooney, Campbell, Burke, Maskey, Molloy (0-4), Bradley, McKenna, McNaughton (0-1), Cunning, S Elliott, McManus (0-5), Clarke (0-9).
Substitutes: P McMullan, Duffin, Donnelly, McGarry, Crawford, McCann (0-1), Johnson, Bohill, McCloskey, Shannon, Nugent.