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Page last updated at 20:47 GMT, Saturday, 15 January 2011

Armagh and Antrim open with wins in Dr McKenna Cup

Pairc Esler action
Armagh's Philip McArdle battles for possession with Down forward Benny Coulter

Armagh defeated Down by a single point and Antrim proved too good for St Mary's in the opening fixtures in Section C of the Barrett McKenna Cup.

At Pairc Esler, Benny Coulter bagged two goals for Down, but it wasn't enough as Armagh claimed a slender 2-15 to 3-11 win.

Former Mayo footballer Billy Joe Padden made a second half appearance as a substitute for the Orchard County.

Antrim saw off St Mary's 2-12 to 0-9 at Casement Park.

Despite the close nature of the full-time score-line at Pairc Esler, Armagh burst out of the blocks to claim an early 0-8 to 0-1 advantage.

Rory Grugan bagged three first half points for the Orchard County, with Brian Mallon, Colm Watters and Joe Feeney also among their scorers.

However, beaten All-Ireland finalists Down launched a stern comeback before the break.

Peter Fitzpatrick claimed the only goal of the first half, while Conor Maginn, Coulter and Ronan Murtagh claimed points to tie the contest at 1-6 to 0-9 at the interval.

The game continued to be a tight affair on the restart with both sides claiming third quarter goals.

Coulter was on target for Down's second 'major' while Brian Mallon claimed the Armagh goal, with Down leading by 2-11 to 1-10 with 15 minutes remaining.

Goals continued to flow freely in the second half, with Benny Coulter bagging his second goal for the hosts.

However, Armagh held out at the death with Anthony Duffy claiming a late goal.

Goals in either half were vital as Antrim claimed a 2-12 to 0-9 win in the Dr McKenna Cup at a rain swept Casement Park.

Liam Bradley's charges were in superb form throughout and led by 1-7 to 0-2 at half-time, with Dean O'Neill netting a 32nd minute goal.

The Naomh Enda half-forward bagged the vital three-pointer after winning possession from a kick-out, setting off on a solo run and slotting the ball to the net from 21 metres.

The Saffrons made a pacey start with five of their forwards on target before the break, with Paddy Cunningham, Conor McGourty, Mark Sweeney and Terry O'Neill also claiming first half scores.

Ciaran Campbell and Benny Herron kept St Mary's in touch, and the teaching college dug deep on the restart.

Paddy Tally's side claimed the first two points of the second half with Tyrone's Kevin Mossey and Mark McKenna on target.

A Paddy Cunningham score gave Antrim a 1-7 to 0-4 lead in the 41st minute, but St Mary's continued to lay down a marker.

Midfielder McKenna claimed his second point of the half, before substitute Oisin Mac Iomhair slotted over a free to leave the score at 1-7 to 0-6 as the game entered the final quarter.

The teams swapped points, before a third point from McGourty extended the hosts lead to five points.

St Mary's continued to press hard, but a late Antrim goal after the students goalkeeper Ronan McAnenly messed up a dipping Kevin Niblock shot sealed the issue late on.


Barrett McKenna Cup

Section A

Donegal 0-14 0-10 UUJ

Section B

Monaghan 0-9 0-13 Queen's

Cavan 1-10 1-12 Derry

Section C

Down 3-11 2-15 Armagh

Antrim 2-12 0-09 St Mary's



see also
Donegal beat UUJ in McKenna Cup
15 Jan 11 |  Gaelic Games
Queen's and Derry take victories
15 Jan 11 |  Gaelic Games
Tyrone McKenna Cup game postponed
14 Jan 11 |  Gaelic Games
Harte pays tribute to daughter
11 Jan 11 |  Northern Ireland
Padden poised for move to Armagh
10 Jan 11 |  Gaelic Games


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