Antrim1-10 Dublin 3-12
Dublin maintained their winning start in Allianz Hurling League Division 1B when seeing off Antrim by 3-12 to 1-10 at Casement Park.
A Paul Ryan goal after seven minutes helped the Dubs to a 1-2 to 0-0 lead. Antrim kept the scoreboard ticking over through free-taker Neil McManus’ efforts, but Michael Carton’s speculative shot had Dublin 2-7 to 0-5 ahead at the break.
David O’Callaghan turned home Dublin’s third goal after the break before Stephen Beatty’s consolation for Antrim.
Dublin came away from Belfast with their second successive win in the division, but manager Anthony Daly will know that Antrim could - and should - have been closer than the eight points that separated the sides at the final whistle.
Two of the Dublin goals came from Antrim mistakes, although the Saffrons seldom forced visiting goalkeeper Gary Maguire into action at the other end. So, while Dublin were worth the victory, Daly will look for improvement ahead of the visit of Limerick next Saturday.
Kevin Ryan’s Antrim side are still looking for their first points of the league campaign and travel to Wexford next weekend aiming for their third league win on the trot over the Model men to ease relegation worries.
For Dublin's opening goal, corner forward Ryan reacted first to a breaking ball at the edge of the Antrim square to fire past Ryan McGarry between the Antrim posts.
The home side got off the mark through a Neil McManus free and by the 17th minute had reduced the gap to three points, 1-3 to 0-3, all from the stick of the Cushendall man.
Dublin looked sharper throughout the park, and were handling the strong cross-field breeze better than their hosts who finished the game with 13 wides, as opposed to Dublin’s five.
John McCaffrey and Danny Sutcliffe added points from play with Ryan gratefully converting two more frees, both earned by Sutcliffe who was giving Conor Carson a hard time at the edge of the square.
Eddie McCloskey stopped the rot for Antrim on 25 minutes but disaster struck for the home side when Michael Carton’s harmless-looking effort from 70 yards out made it all the way to the Antrim goal for a 2-7 to 0-4 lead.
Net minder McGarry redeemed himself minutes later when superbly saving a point-blank effort from Sutcliffe before Karl Stewart completed the first half scoring to leave Antrim trailing 2-7 to 0-5 at the break.
Antrim began the second half in stronger fashion, accounting for four of the opening five points of the half to close the gap to five, 2-8 to 0-9, the pick of the scores coming from Paul Shiels.
But the Glensmen handed the initiative back to Dublin when a defensive mix-up allowed 'Dotsy' O’Callaghan the easiest of tasks in tapping home after being picked out by David Treacy.
With Conal Keaney operating at centre-back, Dublin added four more unanswered scores through Joey Boland, McCaffrey, O’Callaghan and Treacy, making the game safe for Daly’s side.
Antrim kept battling and a superb point by Kevin McKernan was followed by the goal that Antrim deserved on the day with corner forward Beatty stroking home a rebound after a Shiels shot had been saved by Maguire.
ANTRIM: R McGarry; A Graffin, C Carson, C McKinley; S McCrory, N McAuley, P Shiels (0-1); M Donnelly, T McCloskey; Eddie McCloskey (0-1), K Stewart (0-1), N McManus (0-6, 0-5f); S Beatty (1-0), B McCarry, KB McShane.
Subs used: M McFadden for Carson, D Hamill for McCarry, P Doherty for McShane, K McKernan (0-1) for E McCloskey, C McFall for Stewart.
DUBLIN: G Maguire; P Kelly, P Schutte, R Trainor; M Carton (1-0), L Rushe, S Lambert; J Boland (0-1), K Byrne; C Keaney, J McCaffery (0-2), D Sutcliffe (0-1); P Ryan (1-5, 0-4f), C McCormack (0-1), D O’Callaghan (1-1).
Subs used: D Treacy (0-1) for Rushe, N McMorrow for Ryan, M Schutte for D Sutcliffe, R O’Carroll for McCormack, E Dillon for O’Callaghan.
Referee: Christopher Browne (Galway)