Walsh Cup: Antrim 1-18 Westmeath 0-12
Antrim's hurlers got their 2017 campaign off to a strong start with a 1-18 to 0-12 win over Westmeath in the Walsh Cup at Kinnegad on Sunday.
The visitors trailed by 0-8 to 0-3 after 22 minutes, with Westmeath firmly on top thanks to the scoring efforts of Alan Devine.
Antrim made a impressive comeback and led 0-10 to 0-9 at the interval.
The Saffrons moved clear in the second half with Ciaran Clarke netting for the Ulster side on 66 minutes.
Antrim's first-half comeback was inspired by the likes of their goalkeeper Chris O'Connell, with the Loughgiel Shamrocks clubman deflecting a Joe Boyle goal shot out for a 65.
Defender Paddy Burke was also on hand to halt a Devine chance, with scores at the opposite end coming from Daniel McKernan, Niall McKenna and Neil McManus.
Saffrons edge in front
A Conor Johnston point levelled the tie for only the second time, before a Clarke effort from a free handed Antrim a half-time lead.
The visitors looked good on the restart with Eoghan Campbell, Maol Connolly, McKernan and McManus on target to build up a 0-16 to 0-10 lead.
Westmeath added back-to-back points but Antrim finished strongly with Clarke's goal coming when goalkeeper Shane McGovern failed to control a looping ball.
McKenna added another point to help Antrim to a nine-point win.
The Saffrons will face Kilkenny and DCU in Group 2 of the competition in the coming weeks.
Kilkenny are fielding a mainly Under 21 squad for the competition, and following a nine-point win over DCU in midweek, find themselves joint top of the group with Antrim after the first round of games.