Antrim 1-10 Westmeath 0-14
Westmeath needed a great last minute save from Aidan Lennon to ensure a nervous passage to the next round of the All-Ireland qualifiers when they beat Antrim 0-14 to 1-10 at Casement Park today.
Lennon stopped a point-blank shot from Antrim substitute Paul Close as time was running out to give Luke Dempsey’s side a deserved, if a little fortunate, victory.
Despite playing with the aid of a very strong breeze, Westmeath led by just a point at the break, 0-8 to 1-4. Dessie Dolan hit three points, all from play, while Kevin Madden’s three for Antrim included two frees.
Antrim found the net in the 20th minute when a shot from Madden hung in the breeze, was broken down by Kevin Doyle to Kevin Brady who fired to the net from the edge of the square.
Antrim keeper Sean McGreevy showed his class with a point-blank save at the feet of Michael Ennis just before the break.
Kevin Madden completed the Antrim scoring for the first-half when he tapped over a 21 metre free to leave a point between the sides at the interval.
Westmeath’s lead was short-lived as first Eamonn McCann then namesake Peter found space to kick two excellent points. Peter McCann beat Westmeath keeper Lennon four minutes into the half but Dermot Brady was on the line to make the save.
Westmeath had their own goal chance three minutes later when Ennis was put through by Dolan only to blast over with just McGreevy to beat.
The home side were racking up the wides while Dolan continued to pose problems for the Saffrons back line.
He finished with six points, all from play and his contribution proved the decisive one on the day.
Antrim: S McGreevy; E McLernon, M Mulholland, J McKeever; G Adams, T Convery, S Kelly; J Quinn, M McCrory; P McCann (0-1), E McCann (0-1), J Murphy; K Madden (0-7 0-6 frees) K Brady (1-0), K Doyle (0-1).
Subs: N Ward for J McKeever (46), P Close for P McCann (51), P Logan for M McCrory (64), N Doyle for E McCann (69)
Westmeath: A Lennon; D Brady, D Mitchell, F Murray; B Morley (0-1), P Conway, J Keane; R O’Connell, D O’Shaughnessy; F Wilson (0-1), D Gavin, M Ennis (0-3); D Dolan (0-6), M Flanagan (0-1), JP Casey (0-2 frees).
Subs: D Murphy for D Mitchell (30), V Gavin for D Gavin (33), G Heavin for JP Casey (62), J Fallon for F Wilson (62), D Heavin for F Murray (67)
Ref: H Beirne (Roscommon).