Joe McDonagh Cup: Antrim 1-19 Laois 1-20

Ciaran Clarke
Ciaran Clarke scored a goal for Antrim in Saturday's defeat to Laois

Antrim suffered their first Joe McDonagh Cup defeat when they lost by a point to Laois in Dunloy on Saturday.

A Willie Dunphy goal helped the Leinster visitors to a 1-20 to 1-19 victory at Pearse Park.

Ciaran Clarke hit a late goal for the Saffrons after Laois were reduced to 10 men when Lee Cleere was sent off.

Neil McManus recovered from a nasty injury to start and score 11 points for Antrim, but Eamon Kelly's men held on for their first win.

The sides were tied at 0-1 apiece after four minutes, with Conor Johnston and Ross King trading scores, before McManus and Donal McKinley struck for the hosts.

Laois were level by the 18th minute, with King, Dunphy and Paddy Purcell finding the target, and they soon moved in to a 0-11 to 0-7 lead.

Antrim pressed hard late in the half, but McManus's goal-bound effort was deflected out for a 65', which he converted to cut the gap to three points at the break.

Laois had the wind advantage after the restart, but it was Antrim who began the second half better, as a trio of McManus scores levelled the tie.

Dunphy's goal arrived in the 40th minute, but the Saffrons cut the gap to two points with 12 minutes remaining through McManus's 10th point from a free.

Laois then had to deal with the dismissal of Cleere, who was shown a straight red card.

McManus slotted over the resulting free to leave the minimum between the sides in the 63rd minute.

Despite their numerical disadvantage, Laois secured the victory with Clarke's late goal not enough for the Saffrons.