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Antrim 1-17 London 2-07

Updated: Sunday, 11 May 2014 20:09 | Comments

Antrim saw off the challenge of London
Antrim saw off the challenge of London

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Antrim secured their place in the Leinster SHC quarter-finals with a 1-17 to 2-07 win over London at Ballycastle.

Paul Shiels hit six points as Antrim built up a 0-06 to 0-05 interval lead, as James Barrett keeping the Exiles in the game with three fine saves.

A Shiels goal was cancelled out by strikes from Martin Duggan and Kevin Walsh but the Saffrons finished strongly with scores from Eoin Campbell, Stephen McAfee and Ciaran Clarke, with Shiels bringing his tally to 1-10.

A third straight win in the qualifying series means Kevin Ryan’s men will be involved in the business end of the provincial championship, having made it through with a game to spare.

Antrim's early dominance was not reflected on the scoreboard as they hit a rash of wides, and an early Shiels effort was cancelled out by Eoin Kelly, who converted a '65.

Darren Hamill sent Shiels though on goal, but goalkeeper James Barrett denied the Dunloy attacker with a fine save.

Shiels steered the resultant '65 between the posts, and tagged on a point from play for a three-point lead by the 12th minute.

Wing-back Neil McManus launched a long range effort, and Shiels made it 0-06 to 0-02.

But another rash of missed opportunities allowed the Exiles off the hook, and they narrowed the gap with points from Peter Phelan, Darren Moore and a third for Kelly.

And they could have had more but for some solid defending from full-back Conor McKinley.

The Saffrons created two goal chances in the closing stages of the half, but were twice thwarted by goalkeeper Barrett, who denied Shiels with a fine stop, and moments later kept out a PJ O’Connell effort.

After shooting 10 first-half wides, Antrim held a slender 0-06 to 0-05 lead at the interval, but finally managed to get the better of Barrett with just a minute played in the second half, Shiels collecting Neil McAuley's pass to drill his shot to the net.

London were reduced to 14 men in the 45th minute when defender Noel McDonald received a straight red card.

But they stunned the hosts with a Martin Duggan goal four minutes later, and in the 46th minute, slack Antrim defending was punished once again, this time Kevin Walsh getting in for a second goal.

But the final 15 minutes was a story of Antrim dominance over their depleted opponents.

Substitutes McAfee and Barry McFall made a big impact, with the former shooting a fine point.

Campbell also arrowed over a long range effort, and three more from the accurate hurl of Shiels made the victory safe.

And they came close to getting a second goal, but once again, Barrett was the man who stood in Antrim's way, keeping out O'Connell's  flicked effort.

Antrim: C O'Connell; O McFadden, C McKinley, A Graffin; S  McCrory, N McAuley, N McManus (0-01); E Campbell (0-01), C Johnston; C Carson, D Hamill, C McCann, C Clarke (0-03, 1f), P Shiels (1-10, 0-04f, 0-02 '65), PJ O'Connell.

Subs: B McFall for McCrory, C Johnson (0-01) for Hamill, S McAfee (0-01) for McCann, T McCann for Carson, M Bradley for Campbell.

London: J Barrett; C McAlinden, R Foy, C Hickey; E Cooney, PJ Rowe, S Fawley; D Moore (0-01), H Vaughan; P Phelan (0-01), E Kelly (0-05, 3f, 2 '65), M Lynch; K Walsh (1-0), M Duggan (1-0), L Hands.

Subs: N McDonald for Hickey, K Killilea for Hands, P Cocoman for Phelan, D Egan for Lynch.

Referee: J Keenan (Wicklow).

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