Allianz Hurling League Division 1B – Clare 0-18 Antrim 0-12

Banner made to battle by Antrim

Clare 0-20 Antrim 0-12

By Charlie Keegan for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Clare recorded their second win of the Allianz Division 1B campaign with a hard fought victory over Antrim at Cusack Park, Ennis yesterday. Davy Fitzgerald’s side led by a point (0-8 to 0-7) at the break but upped gears on the restart despite the red card dismissal of Domhnall O’Donovan for striking PJ O’Connell. Clare edged it marginally in the opening stages and relied on an early second-half blitz of five unanswered points inside eight minutes to set up victory.

Those scores came via a Nickey O’Connell free, two from play by the in-form corner-forward Colin Ryan and two more placed balls by Conor McGrath. Fitzgerald’s men played a rather slow and methodical hand-passing game before the interval but the more direct approach paid rich dividends after the interval. Caimin Morey was introduced off the bench on the hour mark and he impressed with two points in the final ten minutes. Antrim will rue bad misses by Karl Stewart and PJ O’Connell and the visitors also finished with 14 men following the dismissal of their star man, Neil McManus, for a second yellow card with three minute remaining.

Scorers for Clare: N O’Connell (0-6) 4 f’s, C McGrath (0-6) 4 f’s, C Ryan (0-3), C Morey (0-2), J Conlon, D Keane, C McInerney (0-1) each.

Scorers for Antrim: S McNaughton (0-5) f’s, N McManus (0-4) 1 f, K Stewart, PJ O’Connell, C McFall 90-1) each.

CLARE: P Kelly, D O’Donovan, C Dillon, C Cooney, B Bugler, P O’Connor, E Barrett, N O’Connell, P Donnellan (Capt.), J Conlon, D Keane, F Lynch, C McInerney, C McGrath, C Ryan.

Subs: C Morey for McInerney (59), J Clancy for Lynch (69), L Markham for O’Connell (69).

ANTRIM: C O’Connell, A Griffin, C Donnelly, K McGourty, K B McShane, N McAuley, S McCrory, N McManus, M Gettens, K Stewart, M Herron, C McFall, S McNaughton, C McCann, PJ O’Connell.

Subs: K Sheeran for McCann (half-time), D Lynch for McFall (46), D Hamill for O’Connell (67).

Referee: B Gavin (Offaly)