Clarke strike sets Westmeath on final path
Westmeath 3-17 Antrim 0-17
Westmeath advanced to meet Carlow in the Walsh Shield final after a comprehensive win against an understrength Antrim team in Mullingar.
There was little between the sides early on, but Aonghus Clarke's opportunist goal in the 29th minute put the home team into a lead they never looked likely to relinquish.
A well-taken second goal in added-time from Robbie Greville left Westmeath four points up at the break (2-8 to 0-10) after what had been a keenly-contested opening period.
With inspirational captain Eoin Price leading the way at centre-field, Westmeath were in control in the third quarter, however, they were struggling to shake off the visitors who seemed to be growing in confidence.
Antrim increased the tempo and managed to back into the game, however, they were guilty of wasting a number of good opportunities that could have made the score even closer.
The margin was down to four points with five minutes remaining and it needed Davy Gavin's kicked goal to steady home nerves in the closing stages and they pushed on for a nine-point victory.
SCORERS -- Westmeath: N Conaty 0-8 (7fs), R Greville 1-2 (0-1f), A Clarke, D Gavin 1-0 each, E Price, C Curley, A McGrath 0-2 each, G Greville 0-1. Antrim: C Clarke 0-8 (6fs, 1 '65'), Conor Johnson, S McAfee (1f) 0-3 each, M Bradley, M Dudley, R McCambridge 0-1 each.
WESTMEATH -- P Maloney; P Fennell, T Doyle, L Varley; P Reilly, T Gallagher, G Greville; E Price, P Gilsenan; R Greville, D Gavin, C Curley; N Conaty, A McGrath, A Clarke. Subs: K Duncan for Fennell (27), S Fagan for Gilsenan (49), C Glennon for Curley (55), S Savage for R Greville (67).
ANTRIM -- C Heyden; T O Ciaran, E Campbell, M Bradley; D McGuinness, Ciaran Johnson, S Dooey; J McGreevy, M Dudley; S McAfee, N McKenna, T Morgan; Conor Johnson, R McCambridge, C Clarke. Subs: B McFaul for McKenna (41), S Rooney for McGuinness (43), C Burke for Dooey (54), D Kearney for Dudley (68).
REF -- A Stapleton (Laois)