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Painful loss for sorry Antrim

Westmeath 2-11 Antrim 0-10

In vain: Ciaran Clarke's efforts for Antrim were to no avail
In vain: Ciaran Clarke's efforts for Antrim were to no avail

By David Mohan

Antrim fell to a disappointing defeat against Westmeath in Cusack Park, Mullingar in this National Hurling League 2A clash.

The hosts got off to a great start when Robbie Greville buried to the net on four minutes.

Antrim replied with a Ciaran Clarke free and a long-range score from Kevin McKernan, but the hosts hit the next five points through Niall O'Brien, Liam Varley (two) and Derek McNicholas (two). The Saffrons trimmed the gap to three, but the hosts had the final say of the half with a McNicholas free to leave them 1-6 to 0-5 ahead at the break.

Clarke tapped over for Antrim just after the break, but Westmeath hit back with scores from Cormac Boyle and McNicholas.

McKernan then landed a long free and Conor Johnston hit a score to leave a goal in it, but they just couldn't get any closer.

Gary Greville and James Connolly traded points before the hosts sealed their win when McNicholas cracked the ball home.

McNicholas and Murtagh then pointed and while Liam Watson flicked over, Antrim finished with 14 as Domhnall Nugent was given a second yellow.

WESTMEATH: P Maloney; S Power, T Doyle, T Gallagher; A Craig, A Clarke, A McGrath, A McGrath; C Boyle (0-1), G Greville (0-1); L Varley (0-2, both frees), R Greville (1-0), N O Brien (0-1 free); A Devine, D McNicholas (1-5, 0-4 frees), E Price. Subs: N Dowdall for N O'Brien (14 mins), B Murtagh (0-1) for A Devine (56 mins), C Doyle for E Price (62 mins), K Duncan for S Power (69 mins).

ANTRIM: C O'Connell; O McFadden, N McAuley, C McKinley; S McCrory, J McGreevy, B McFall; K McKernan (0-2, 1 free), L Watson (0-1); D Nugent, N McKenna, E McCloskey; Conor Johnston (0-2), S McCaughan, C Clarke (0-4, 3 frees). Subs: C McGuinness for S McCaughan (46 mins), J Connolly (0-1) for E McCloskey (56 mins), D McCloskey for N McKenna (65 mins), S McAfee for C Clarke (65 mins).

Ref: Gearoid McGrath (Wexford)

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