Shiels drives Saffrons to the summit
Antrim 0-23 Westmeath 2-11
Antrim sit top of the round-robin group table after this win over 13-man Westmeath at Ballycastle.
The visitors lost Aaron Craig to a second yellow card on 47 minutes and Tommy Gallagher got a straight red five minutes from time.
Westmeath had surged into 0-4 to 0-0 lead after six minutes, with Niall O'Brien getting three points, but Antrim got back on level terms at 0-6 apiece when PJ O'Connell slotted over from play.
Ace free-taker Paul Shiels and Ciaran Clarke put the hosts two clear, and after Derek McNicholas' goal had put the Lake men back in front, Antrim rattled off four points without reply. Two Ciaran Curley points reduced the gap to 0-12 to 1-8 at the break.
Antrim pulled six points clear on the resumption. A quick-fire 1-1 salvo from McNicholas cut the gap to a point, but the Saffrons kicked on again, with Shiels leading the way, and sub Niall McKenna sealed victory.
SCORERS – Antrim: P Shiels 0-12 (10fs), C Clarke, PJ O'Connell 0-3 each, E Campbell 0-2, D Hamill, N McManus, N McKenna 0-1 each. Westmeath: D McNicholas 2-1, N O'Brien 0-5 (4fs), E Price 0-3 (2fs), C Curley 0-2.
Antrim – C O'Connell 7; O McFadden 8, C McKinley 7, C Johnson 6; E Campbell 8, N McAuley 8, N McManus 7; D Hamill 7, B McFall 7; C Carson 6, P Shiels 9, S Beatty 6; C Clarke 8, M Donnelly 6, PJ O Connell 8. Subs: A Graffin 7 for S Beatty (18), C McCann 8 for M Donnelly (h-t), S McCrory 7 for B McFall (40), S McAfee 7 for C Carson (48), N McKenna 7 for D Hamill (65).
Westmeath – P Collins 7; K Duncan 6, T Doyle 7, L Varley 7; G Greville 7, A Craig 6, T Gallagher 6; C Curley 7, E Price 8; R Greville 7, A Devine 6, D Gavin 6; N Conaty 6, D McNicholas 8, N O'Brien 8.
Subs: A Clarke 6 for N Conaty (h-t), D Lynch 6 for D Gavin (57).
Ref – F Horgan (Tipperary).