Westmeath claimed their second victory of the 2019 Joe McDonagh Cup, with Joe Quaid’s side producing a brilliant performance to defeat Antrim.
Pearse Park in Dunloy played host to proceedings, but the home side will be very disappointed with the manner of this defeat, and ended the game with 13 men.
Westmeath are now in a great position to qualify for the Joe McDonagh Cup final for the second year in succession. They travel to Laois next Saturday for their last group game.
Neil McManus has been excellent for Antrim over the course of the competition, but John Gilligan opted to man-mark the Cushendall star and he did a fantastic job as McManus did not score from play during the game, although he was excellent from place balls.
Killian Doyle brought his excellent recent form into this game and was magnificent once again for the Lake County, scoring 17 points.
It was Antrim who opened the scoring courtesy of a free from McManus, before Doyle levelled proceedings.
McManus and Doyle once again traded scores, both from place balls, before two further points from Doyle gave his side the lead.
Both teams were finding the target regularly from place balls and Doyle’s 19th-minute free gave his side a 0-8 to 0-5 lead, as Westmeath began to dominate the game.
Westmeath continued to boss it up until the interval and a '65 from Doyle on the stroke of half-time gave his side a 0-15 to 0-9 advantage.
It was tit for tat after the break, as Antrim were unable to claw back the deficit, however the game all but ended as a contest in the 58th minute, when Matthew Donnelly was shown a second yellow card after a foul on Robbie Greville.
Doyle pointed the resulting free to give his side an eight-point lead which was always going to be enough when playing with an extra man.
Westmeath held out for an eight-point success, as David Kearney was sent off in stoppage time for Antrim and Doyle registered the games last score to top off a fantastic individual performance.
Westmeath will be very confident of lifting this trophy if they can replicate this display and will be hoping to go one better than last year, when they were pipped by Carlow in the decider.
Antrim: Ryan Elliott; Phelim Duffin, John Dillon, Stephen Rooney; Matthew Donnelly, Paddy Burke (0-1), Joe Maskey; David Kearney, Nicky McKeague (0-1, 0-1 "65"); Neil McManus (0-13, 0-12f, 0-1 "65"), Ryan McCambridge, Keelan Molloy (0-1); Ciaran Clarke, Nigel Elliott (0-1), James McNaughton (0-3).
Subs: Eoghan Campbell for Duffin (28), Conor Boyd for Joe Maskey (46), Daniel McCloskey for McCambridge (51), Eoin O’Neill (0-1) for Elliott (58), James O’Connell for Clarke (68).
Westmeath: Conor Lynch; Darragh Egerton, Gary Greville; Liam Varley, Aonghus Clarke, Paul Greville (0-1); Shane Clavin, John Gilligan; Cormac Boyle (0-2), Killian Doyle (0-17, 0-9f, 0-2 "65"), Joey Boyle (0-1); Robbie Greville (0-3), Derek McNicholas (0-1) Allan Devine (0-1).
Subs: Ciaran Doyle (0-2) for McNicholas (46), Darragh Clinton (0-1) for Devine (68), Shane McGovern for C Boyle (69), Conor Shaw for J Boyle (70 + 5).
Referee: Paud O'Dwyer (Carlow)