Victory puts wind in Antrim's sails
Antrim 1-22 - D.I.T. 2-12
Antrim got their Walsh Cup campaign off to the perfect start as they recorded a seven-point victory over Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) at a windy St Paul's in Belfast.
Playing with a gale behind them in the opening period, DIT raced into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead thanks to four Jack Guiney frees, but the hosts were gradually finding their feet and points from Paul Shiels and PJ O'Connell reduced the gap to one.
The students responded immediately with the first goal of the game when a dropping ball veered off course and left Antrim keeper Chrissy O'Connell stranded. Daryl Roberts took advantage by whipping the loose sliotar into the net.
Antrim continued to battle and trailed by just three approaching the break despite Shiels seeing his one on one penalty brilliantly saved by Paddy McKenna before a trio of quick scores from John Henderson, Derek McNicholas and Roberts doubled the DIT lead.
Antrim finished the half strongly and points from Barry McFall and Shiels left them trailing by 0-9 to 1-10 at the interval.
The hosts took advantage of the wind after the restart with Shiels and Eddie McCloskey on target before PJ O'Connell raced through to find the corner of the net to give Antrim a 1-11 to 1-10 advantage.
They followed with four points in succession before DIT launched a comeback with McNicholas pointing and then poking to the net to cut Antrim's lead to one.
The sides traded points but Antrim then hit five good scores. Guiney had an injury-time penalty saved before Neil McManus sealed the Antrim win with a late point.