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Antrim face shoot-out after loss to Laois


On target: Ciaran Clarke found the net for Antrim

On target: Ciaran Clarke found the net for Antrim

On target: Ciaran Clarke found the net for Antrim

Antrim hurlers must tackle a promotion/relegation fight with the Division 2A champions after a strong Laois showing kept the O'Moore's in Division 1B on a windy day in Portlaoise.

A goal each from Zane Keenan and Ross King in the 66th minute propelled the hosts to victory in a game, where they had to dig deep for a result.

Seamus Plunkett's side looked good as they moved 0-15 to 1-6 clear in the 41st minute, but managed to squander that six-point lead, despite the Saffrons losing defender Ryan McCambridge to a straight red card.

Goals from Keenan and King provided the platform for a Laois win, as they scored an unanswered 2-2 late on, with PJ Scully and Willie Hyland adding points from play on the way to an eight-point victory.

Although the sides were level after three minutes, after Joe Campion and Neil McManus traded scores, Laois were on the front foot for most of this game on the scoreboard.

A fourth minute point Charles Dwyer point kept Laois ahead until the second half.

But despite the dead-ball accuracy of Keenan and excellent points from Dwyer, King and Scully from play - Laois struggled to really pull away from the visitors.

A 17th minute Ciaran Clarke goal arrived after a defensive mix-up, to cut the gap to a point at 0-7 to 1-3.

Laois responded well, and moved 0-13 to 1-6 ahead at the interval, and although dominating the early stages of the second half, struggled for scores.

Antrim mounted a comeback, despite McCambridge seeing red, after lashing out on Willie Hyland.

Fine points from Clarke and Paul Shiels from placed balls and Odhran McFadden, Clarke and Daniel McKernan from play, along with excellent goalkeeping from Chrissy O'Connell brought Antrim back, but Laois dug deep to claim the points.

Belfast Telegraph