Sport Hurling

Saturday 21 April 2018

Clarke seals Antrim shock

Antrim 1-18 Westmeath 0-12 Wicklow SFC Final

Antrim's Niall McKenna Photo: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE
Antrim's Niall McKenna Photo: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

Antrim stunned Westmeath with a crushing Walsh Cup victory at Kinnegad. In front of a small attendance, Westmeath made a promising start with the lively Allan Devine firing over a tidy free.

Niall McKenna responded for the visitors before Aonghus Clarke and Conor Johnston exchanged scores.

Michael Ryan's Lake men hit a purple patch between the 10th and 20th minutes and took a five-point lead with impressive scores from Jack Galvin, Daragh Egerton and Devine.

However, in the closing ten minutes of the half, the Saffrons really knuckled down and got to grips around the middle of the field, with Eoghan Campbell and Daniel McKernan on top.

McKernan reduced the gap to four before Niall McKenna and Neil McManus slotted over fine efforts from play.

With half-time approaching, a quartet of points from Johnston (two) and Clarke (brace of frees) gave the visitors a one point advantage at the interval, 0-10 to 0-9.

The second half belonged to Antrim as they played some eye-catching hurling.

Some fine points from McKenna and Johnston along with a major in the 66th minute from Clarke ensured Antrim headed back north with the points.

Scorers - Antrim: C Clarke 1-3 (0-3fs), C Johnston 0-4, N McKenna, E Campbell 0-3 each, D McKernan, N McManus 0-2 each, M Connolly 0-1. Westmeath: A Devine 0-7 (4fs), J Galvin 0-2, A Clarke, D Egerton, B Murtagh 0-1 each.

Antrim - C O'Connell; S Rooney, J Dillon, P Burke; S McCrory, N McAuley, C McKinley; E Campbell, D McKernan; N McManus, C McCann, M Connolly; C Clarke, N McKenna, C Johnston. Subs: K McKeague for Burke (14), P McGill for Connolly (44).

Westmeath - S McGovern; S Power, C Shaw, K Duncan; A Craig, L Varley, A McGrath; A Clarke, E Price; J Boyle, P Scally, E Corrigan; J Galvin, A Devine, D Egerton. Subs: N Mitchell for Scally (h-t), G Greville for Duncan (h-t), W Casserly for Corrigan (45), B Murtagh for Boyle (57).

Ref - K Brady (Louth).

Irish Independent

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