McNicholas extends Westmeath's perfect start
Westmeath 2-11 Antrim0-10
Westmeath maintained their perfect start to their league campaign by easing past a disappointing Antrim side at Mullingar yesterday afternoon.
The Glensmen had also won their opening two games but seldom looked likely to extend their run against a slicker Westmeath outfit who could afford the luxury of some poor wides in the second half.
Michael Ryan's men pounced for crucial goals on two occasions. The first came as early as the third minute, when Robbie Greville opened the scoring.
Westmeath led by 1-6 to 0-5 at the interval, with their points all coming from placed balls (shared by three free-takers); three of Antrim's points came from the inconsistent Ciaran Clarke, who also registered four wides.
The hosts had extended their lead to five points by the time substitute Niall Dowdall had a goal disallowed in the 40th minute, but a monster free by Kevin McKiernan and a fine point from play by Conor Johnston kept PJ O'Mullan's charges in touch.
Westmeath were just a goal clear (1-9 to 0-9) when Derek McNicholas rifled home a goal in the 64th minute, and the home side held out.
Donal Nugent's dismissal for a second yellow card in added-time compounded Antrim's woes after their first defeat.
Scorers - Westmeath: D McNicholas 1-5 (0-4fs), R Greville 1-0, L Varley (2fs), C Boyle 0-2 each, N O'Brien (f), B Murtagh 0-1 each. Antrim: C Clarke 0-4 (3f), C Johnston, K McKiernan (1f) 0-2 each, L Watson, J Connolly 0-1 each.
Westmeath - P Maloney 7; S Power 7, T Doyle 8, T Gallagher 6; A Craig 6, A Clarke 7, A McGrath 6; C Boyle 7, G Greville 6; L Varley 6, R Greville 7, N O'Brien 5; A Devine 6, D McNicholas 7, E Price 6. Subs: N Dowdall 6 for O'Brien (inj., 14), B Murtagh 6 for Devine (57), C Doyle n/r for Price (62), K Duncan n/r for Power (70).
Antrim - C O'Connell 6; O McFadden 6, N McAuley 5, C McKinley 6; S McCrory 6, L Watson 7, B McFall 6; K McKiernan 7, J McGreevy 5; D Nugent 5, N McKenna 6, E McCloskey 5; C Johnston 7, S McCaughan 5, C Clarke 5. Subs: C McGuinness 6 for McCaughan (46), J Connolly 6 for Johnston (56), S McAfee n/r for McKenna (64), B Graham n/r for Clarke (64).
Ref - G McGrath (Wexford).