Antrim 1-25 Armagh 0-21
Antrim saw off Armagh with seven points to spare last night, at home, in the opening round of the McGurk Cup.
The game was in the melting pot for 45 minutes, but a Saffron goal gave the hosts some breathing space heading down the stretch.
It was the Orchard who got off to the best start and raced into a three-point lead. Free taker and top scorer Fionntan Donnelly nailed three placed ball efforts.
Cuchulainns corner forward Ciaran Duffy, a late replacement for Danny Magee, extended Armagh’s advantage to four.
Antrim replied with two points on the trot before Sean Og McGuinness got his name on the scoresheet.
Peadar McBride traded points with the hosts before last years McDonagh Cup winners hit four in a row to level the game.
Tam McKavanagh swapped scores with the Saffrons, who began to command control and took a two-point lead.
Donnelly saw three of his efforts cancelled out while Duffy exchanged scores before the break. The home side headed into the half time interval 15-12 to the good.
Donnelly (2) and Barry Shortt raced white flags, from frees, but Antrim matched them to maintain their three-point cushion.
Sharpshooter Donnelly arrowed over a 65 before Antrim struck for goal and opened up a five-point margin.
Three Donnelly frees were equalled by the opposition before full forward Eoin McGuinness narrowed the gap to four.
Antrim hit four of the last five points, with Donnelly claiming his 14th of the evening, to see out a seven-point win.
The Saffrons move on to the last four while all Armagh’s attention will now swiftly turn towards the league.
It’s Louth up first, away from home, on Saturday 4 February and Karl McKeegan will hope his side get off to a good start.