Tyrone were made to wait for their second Leo Murphy Cup fixture against Antrim on Saturday when the visitors bus broke down on their way to Healy Park on Saturday morning. Referee Ryan Walsh from Bundoran eventually got the game underway shortly after twelve pm and it was Antrim who made the better start.
Points from half forwards Calum Higgins and Tom Shivers put them two in front before minor scores from Conor Mc Gillion and Dara Hayes followed by a Conor Cush goal put the Red Hands three clear. Antrim responded positively though with a fine score from full forward Ryan Mc Quillan but a burst of four unanswered Tyrone points helped send Tyrone six clear. Cush, Oisin Millar, Seanie O’Donnell and Ronan Cassidy were the men on target.
Antrim were enjoying plenty of possession however and a strong run from Eunan Quinn resulted in a well crafted goal from the midfielder to get the Saffrons back in the game. Centre forward Shivers pointed and suddenly there was only two between the teams and Tyrone appeared vulnerable as they squandered possession and lost ball in the tackle. Big midfielder Conor Hand reduced the deficit to a single point with five first half minutes remaining but the home side finished strongly to hit three unanswered scores from Cush, Cassidy and O’Donnell to go in at the break leading 1-9 to 1-5.
Antrim full forward Mc Quillan claimed and converted an early Mark to get the second half scoring underway before Conor Cush clipped over a free to keep four between them. Two further points from the talented Antrim full forward reduced the gap to two but Conor Mc Gillion pointed to take the Tyrone lead to three again.
Gavin Potter entered the fray in place of Oisin Gormley and his pace began to cause problems for Antrim and created chances for Tyrone. Midway through the half Cush converted a superbly taken Mark before his club mate Cassidy bagged Tyrone’s second goal of the game.
Tom Shivers reduced the gap for Antrim with a fine point but at this stage Tyrone looked very much in control. Cassidy got on the end of a superb piece of invention to claim his second goal of the game and put the game beyond Antrim. Substitute Ruairi Canavan converted a free to make it 3-13 to 1-9 in favour of the home side. With time running out Ronan Mc Killop sent over Antrim’s final score of the game. There was still time however for bot Cush and Canavan to add another point apiece and leave the final score Tyrone 3-15, Antrim 1-10.