Champions Tyrone make strong opening statement
McKenna Cup round-up: Armagh take Down; Derry, Donegal and Cavan win
Pádraig McNulty got the first of Tyrone’s goals. File photograph: Inpho
Tyrone 4-20 Antrim 2-11
Reigning champions Tyrone served notice of their intentions with a big win over Antrim in this McKenna Cup.
The Red Hands, who are aiming for a seventh title on the trot, scored four goals and were never in any danger of losing.
A goal from Pádraig McNulty got them going during the opening period and they led by 1-10 to 0-4 at the break.
But Tyrone, who played the home tie at the Athletic Grounds in Armagh, really turned on the style on the resumption.
Further goals from man of the match Frank Burns, Niall Sludden and the returning Connor McAliskey saw them put the game beyond reach of the Saffrons long before the finish.
To their credit, Antrim kept battling and were rewarded with late goals from Callum Duffin and Matt Fitzpatrick, but they were never going to threaten.
TYRONE: N Morgan; B Burns, P Hampsey, M McKernan; T McCann, HP McGeary, K McGeary; C McShane (0-4), P McNulty (1-0); M Donnelly (0-2), N Sludden (1-0), F Burns (1-4); D McCurry (0-5), C McAliskey (1-1, one free), L Brennan (0-2; one free, one 45).
Subs: R McNabb for K McGeary (46 mins), R McHugh (0-2) for C McAliskey (46 mins), D McClure for P McNulty (48 mins), C McLaughlin for T McCann (44 mins), M Cassidy for M McKernan (65 mins).
ANTRIM: P Nugent; P Brannigan, P Gallagher, C Lemon; K O’Boyle, S McVeigh, J Laverty; M McCarry, N McKeever; S Beatty, M Fitzpatrick (1-0), R McCann; C McGourty (0-4, three frees), C Duffin (1-1), R Murray (0-5, one free).
Subs: P McBride for J Laverty (35 mins), C Murray (0-1) for M McCarry (35 mins), K O hEeili for R McCann (41 mins), N Delargy for C Lemon (41 mins), S McVeigh for P McAleer (42 mins)
Referee: E McFeely (Donegal).
Down 0-13 Armagh 2-12
Armagh got their season off to the best possible start as they eased to victory over near neighbours Down at Páirc Esler.
Kieran McGeeney’s men, led by Aidan Forker and Niall Rowland, always looked the better side throughout and two goals in the opening 11 minutes of the second period gave them breathing space despite Eamonn Burns’s side mounting some semblance of a comeback after the second of those three-pointers.
Armagh led 0-9 to 0-5 at the break with Forker top scoring with four points and it was his shot that was saved by Down goalkeeper Shane Harrison early after the break that led to Andrew Murnin blasting home the rebound for Armagh’s first goal.
Their second came soon after courtesy of Ronan Lappin who drove into the net following Greg McCabe’s surging run forward.
Although Down did attempt to pull it back with five scores in succession, Armagh always had enough in the tank top see the win through.
DOWN: S Harrison; C Flanagan, G McGovern, K McKernan (0-1); J Bell, A Doherty (0-2, both frees), J Flynn; P Turley, N McParland; S Millar, C Maginn (0-1), C Poland; R Millar (0-5, three frees), S Dornan (0-1), A Morgan.
Subs: C Mooney (0-2) for Bell (41 mins), B O’Hagan (0-1) for Dornan (41 mins), S Murray for R Millar (66 mins)
ARMAGH: B Hughes; A McKay, A Forker (0-4, two frees), P Hughes (0-1); B Donaghy, N Rowland (0-3), M Shields; C Vernon, P Burns; O Mac Iomhair (0-3, all frees), A Murnin (1-0), R Lappin (1-1); G McCabe, J McElroy, S Sheridan.
Subs: R Grugan for Murnin (48 mins), A Findon for Sheridan (57 mins), D McKenna for Forker (59 mins), M McKenna for Rowland (68 mins), R Kennedy for R Lappin (70 mins), O Lappin for McKay (70 mins).
In Wednesday night’s other games, Fermanagh edged out Monaghan 2-11 to 0-12 at Brewster Park; Derry squeezed past the students of Jordanstown, winning 2-14 to 3-10 at Owenbeg; Donegal ran out handy 2-15 to 0-6 winners against Queen’s in Ballybofey and Cavan has three points to spare against St Mary’s, winning 0-15 to 0-12 on the 3G pitch at Kinspan Breffni Park.