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Antrim hurlers able to step up in class

Kildare 2-7 Antrim 1-19

Dinny Cahill’s Antrim side made it two wins out of two in the league this year although Kildare made them work for their latest victory.

The home side led by a point at half-time, 1-5 to 0-7, although Antrim upped the ante after the break.

Scoring four unanswered points they took a lead that they never relinquished.

Kildare threatened a comeback midway through the second half when Richie Hoban netted a penalty but Neil McManus netted Antrim’s goal a minute later to end the Lilies’ hopes.

In a tight first half, Antrim led 0-3 to 0-1 after 12 minutes but the home side made life difficult for them and when Martin Fitzgerald’s point attempt dipped into the net after 14 minutes, Kildare hit the front.

Shane McNaughton, who was a dominant figure in midfield, brought Antrim level at the end of the opening 35 minutes but an injury time free from David Harney helped the home side in front.

Playing with the breeze and employing a more direct approach after the interval, Antrim were much more potent up front.

They outscored Kildare by six points to one in the 15 minutes after half-time to take a four point lead.

Referee Sean Whelan whistled for a Kildare penalty in the 53rd minute, a decision that baffled both sides, but Richie Hoban slammed home a goal only to see it cancelled out at the opposite end when Neil McManus smashed the sliotar to the net from 10 yards.

McManus and Liam Watson shared the remaining Antrim points, six in all, to give them a nine-point win.

Kildare’s misery was compounded when wing back Eanna O’Neill was sent off in the 64th minute, after picking up his second yellow card.

ANTRIM: McGarry, Shannon, McGarry, McFall, Graffin, McKeegan, Herron, McNaughton 0-3, McCrory, McCann, McManus 1-7 (0-6fs), McFall, McCloskey |0-1, Watson 0-7 (3fs), O’Connell 0-1. Subs: Scullion (for Shannon, h/t), C McAllister (for McCloskey 60).

KILDARE: Dermody, Curtin, Ryan, Keegan, Reidy, Hoban1-0 (penalty), O’Neill, Divilly, |Ó Muineacháin, Murphy 0-2, Kennedy, Harney 0-3fs, Harney, Moloney, Fitzgerald 1-2 (0-1f). Subs: Buggy (for Divilly, h/t), Houlihan (for D Harney 45), Carter (for Harney, 47), Paul Buggy (for Moloney 61).

Referee: S Whelan (Wexford).

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