Ulster SHC Final: Antrim end Armagh's hopes of first provincial title

Antrim's Eoghan Campbell battles with Armagh's Declan Coulter at Owenbeg
Armagh's hopes of winning their first ever Ulster SHC were dashed at Owenbeg

Antrim won a 15th straight Ulster Hurling title as they denied Armagh a first ever provincial crown.

Armagh were only four behind with 12 minutes left when they had James King sent off and two late James Connolly goals sealed Antrim's 6-21 to 4-14 win.

After Declan Coulter's early Armagh goal, goals from John Dillon, Conor Carson and Ciaran Clarke helped the Saffrons lead 3-14 to 2-8 at half-time.

Two Eoin McGuinness goals kept Armagh in it before the crucial red card.

Ciaran Clarke top-scored with 2-7 as he he netted a second goal after the resumption but Ryan Gaffney's frees helped Armagh draw to within three points of the Saffrons before King, who had notched a brilliant goal in first-half injury-time, was dismissed after getting a second yellow card.

Armagh were into the game believing that they had a chance of upsetting an Antrim side potentially low on morale after their failure to win the Christy Ring Cup.

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Ulster Hurling final's clash with Munster decider a mistake - Dominic McKinley

Coulter's third-minute goal gave Armagh an early advantage and they were still in front by the 22nd minute thanks to Gaffney's accuracy and further points from Fiachra Bradley, Cahal Carvill and McGuinness.

However, Dillon's goal put the Saffrons 1-8 to 1-6 ahead and two further three-pointers over the next seven minutes from Carson and Clarke pushed Antrim's advantage to 3-9 to 1-8.

The Saffrons looked almost out of sight as they led 3-14 to 1-8 in first-half injury-time but King's superb goal before the break breathed life back into the Armagh challenge.

Antrim's lead was reduced to five points within three minutes of the resumption as two more Gaffney points were followed by the first of McGuinness' two goals.

Clarke's second goal was quickly cancelled out by McGuinness' second three-pointer as Armagh sensed the possibility of a sensational comeback win.

However, King's dismissal had a huge effort on the closing minutes as Connolly's two late goals gave the scoreboard a somewhat harsh look for the brave Orchard County players.

Antrim joint-manager Dominic McKinley confirmed after the game that he and Sambo McNaughton have both stepped down from their positions, as they had already indicated.

SUNDAY'S GAA RESULTS

ULSTER SENIOR HURLING FINAL

Antrim 6-21 4-14 Armagh

ULSTER MINOR HURLING FINAL

Antrim 2-15 0-11 Down

CONNACHT SFC FINAL

Galway 0-13 1-10 Roscommon

ALL-IRELAND SFC QUALIFIERS

Clare 0-14 1-10 Laois

MUNSTER SHC FINAL

Tipperary 5-19 0-13 Waterford

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