Goal-hungry Tipperary miss out on semi-finals despite annihilating Antrim

Impressive Tipp side hand sorry Antrim a 30-point beating to end league on a high

Tipperary 7-29 Antrim 1-17

Tipperary missed out on making the National Hurling League semi-finals despite handing Antrim a 30-point beating at Semple Stadium.

Having scored just one goal in their four league games prior to Sunday, they hit the Ulster men for seven, with five coming in the first half from Jason Forde, wing back Séamus Kennedy, Michael Breen and a brace from Mark Kehoe, whose direct approach cut the Antrim defence open at will.

The visitors, who were preparing for a relegation playoff and rested the likes of goalkeeper Ryan Elliott, Gerard Walsh and Neil McManus, weren't shy on scoring themselves, with Keelan Molloy contributing five from play as they trailed at half-time, 5-10 to 0-13.

Deteriorated

The second half deteriorated for Antrim with Tipperary pulling away further with the elements behind them as John McGrath helped himself to two goals to make a welcome return to form. The home side had 11 different players on the scoresheet with Colm Bonnar bringing to 31 the number of players used in the league so far, while Patrick "Bonner" Maher received a great reception from the fans as he made his return from long-term injury.

Antrim managed a consolation goal from sub Domhnall Nugent late on as the Ulster men now have to pick themselves up to face Offaly in the relegation playoff next weekend.

Tipperary: Brian Hogan; C Barrett, J Quigley, C Morgan; R Byrne (0-1), R Maher (0-3), S Kennedy (1-0); D McCormack, B Heffernan; C Bowe (0-2), N McGrath (0-4), M Breen (1-1); J Forde (1-8, 0-4f), M Kehoe (2-3), J McGrath (2-3). Subs: C Stakelum (0-2) for McCormack (HT); P Maher for Breen (HT); E Heffernan for Byrne (45); P Flynn (0-2) for Kehoe (50); C Darcy for Bowe (58).

Antrim: P McMullan; Aaron Crawford; M Donnelly, P Burke (0-1); S Walsh (0-1), E Campbell, J Maskey; K Molloy (0-5), D McKernan; C Cunning (0-1), J McNaughton (0-5, 2f), C Johnston (0-1); S Elliott (0-2), C McCann (0-1), C Clarke. Subs: R McGarry for Donnelly (41 inj); E O'Neill for Johnston (43); R McCambridge for McKernan (43); D Nugent (1-0) for Cunning (45); P Duffin for Maskey (64).

Ref: R McGann (Clare)