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Friday 29 August 2014

Antrim's second half surge sees them past Westmeath

Published 05/05/2013 | 17:31

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5 May 2013; Tony McCloskey, Antrim, in action against Alan McGrath, Westmeath. Leinster GAA Hurling Senior Championship, Preliminary Round, Westmeath v Antrim, Cusack Park, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath. Picture credit: Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE
Antrim's Tony McCloskey in action against Alan McGrath

Antrim produced a strong second half performance to beat Westmeath by 3-18 to 2-13 in the preliminary round of the Leinster Hurling Championship in Mullingar.

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Westmeath led by two points at half-time but missed a second half penalty before the Saffrons converted one of their own and they never looked back.

Antrim qualify to play Laois in the first round of the Leinster championship on May 18.

The game got off to a very even opening with both sides hurling well.

Antrim had built up a three point lead but Niall O'Brien's goal then had the sides level.

The Saffrons immediately hit back with a goal of their own from Neil McManus but then Westmeath began getting the upper hand in the first half.

Points from Brendan Murtagh and Derek McNicholas in the latter stages of the half saw Westmeath lead 1-9 to 1-7 at the break.

Eoin Price pointed and Derek McNicholas had his penalty knocked over the bar as Westmeath stretched their advantage.

Antrim were then awarded a penalty of their own and Neil McManus showed how it's done as he blasted to the net.

Jackson McGreevy levelled matters before McCloskey put the Saffrons in front.

Karl Stewart then saw red for Antrim and Paul Shiels and McNaughton helped them to a three point lead.

Westmeath's numerical advantage didn't last long as Derek McNicholas was sent off for a second bookable offence.

Conor Carson's goal put Antrim in control and despite the fact that Tommy Doyle's late goal gave Westmeath a slim chance, Antrim regrouped and ran out deserved eight point winners.

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