Two first-half goals saw Antrim through to the semi-finals of the Ulster Football Championship with a 2-09 to 1-10 victory over Cavan in the swirl of a Casement Park breeze this afternoon. A brace of goals from Darren O'Hare, son of manager PJ, saw the perennial under-achievers cause the province's second major shock with a two-point win over highly-fancied Cavan after 76 minutes.
Fresh on the heels of Monaghan's defeat of All-Ireland champions Armagh a fortnight ago, the Saffrons raced into a commanding lead by the 24th minute with seven scores on the board against Cavan's sole Dermot McCabe free. McCabe was Mattie Kerrigan's side's only scorer in the first thirty-five minutes, as his two frees and two open play scores saw Cavan facing into a 0-04 to 2-06 second-half deficit.
The visitors had struck ten wides in the first-half and it took 42 minutes before Larry Reilly registered the Cavan forward line's first point. His colleague Mickey Graham should have goaled four minutes later with a large chunk of Sean McCreevy's goal baying for a right-foot finish, but he skewed wide.
A second booking for Reilly saw him walk on 51 minutes, and with ten minutes to go, a six-point home advantage had been maintained three times within the second period. Mark McCrory fouled to make it 14 against 14 on 69 minutes, yet PJ O'Hare's side conceded a late Dermot McCabe goal to make their exultant supporters sweat. Antrim, one of the first counties to be eliminated from the qualifiers last year, will meet highly fancied Tyrone next month in the province's last four.
Filed by Shane Murray