Published Sunday, 27 May 2012
Matthew McKenna of Monaghan and James Loughrey of Antrim (© Presseye)
Liam Bradley's Saffrons fell at the first hurdle in the provincial series as their second-half fightback was cancelled out by a strong late showing by the Farneymen, who took the victory by 1-12 to 1-9.
Monaghan got off to the perfect start when half-back Carl O'Connell scored the game's opening goal inside the first minute.
Antrim quickly hauled themselves back into the contest, and a hat-trick of scores from talisman forward Paddy Cunningham saw them trail by 0-5 to 1-4 at the break.
Monaghan's cause wasn't helped when they lost stand-in captain Paul Finlay to a shoulder injury midway through the opening period, and in the second half Antrim's revival continued in earnest.
The Saffrons took the lead for the first time thanks to a superb 45th minute goal from James Loughrey, and further scores from Michael McCann and Mark McAleese gave Antrim a three point cushion going into the final quarter.
However, Monaghan then launched a fightback of their own, helped in no small part by the introduction of Tommy Freeman, who scored twice in the closing stages as Eamon McAneaney's side hit seven of the last eight points to seal victory.
Antrim must now wait to find out their fate in the first round of the All-Ireland qualifiers, while Monaghan progress to a semi-final clash against either Fermanagh or Down.
© UTV News