A far from impressive Armagh side fought their way to a 0-15 0-12 victory over Antrim at Casement Park this afternoon.
The All-Ireland champions were expected to claim a comfortable win agains their Ulster rivals in this All-Ireland SFC qualifier, and with the wind at their backs they started brightly. Ronan Clarke opened the scoring and after 13 minutes they held a comfortable 0-04 0-02 lead over Antrim.
However, Antrim were in a battling mood and the boot of Kevin Madden ensured that they stayed in touch. His four converted free-kicks saw his side trail by just two points at the break, 0-06 to 0-08, with Steven McDonnell and Oisin McConville claiming three apiece for the Champions.
With Armagh playing well below their best and kicking into the wind in the second half, there was an air of uncertainty about their football, however Antrim were unable to put them under any real pressure. Madden managed to claim another two points, which cancelled out scores from McConville and Paul McGrane, but it was all they could do to stay in touch.
Armagh finally raised their game slightly in the closing stages, with two more points from McDonnell extending his side's lead to five points. And while Antrim claimed a brace of points in the dying minutes they proved to be little more than consolation scores.
Filed by Rob Wright