Brendan Cummins said Antrim's brilliant start to life in Division 1 of the Allianz Hurling League "wasn't any major surprise" as the Saffrons' rise under Darren Gleeson continues.

Antrim produced an excellent performance to turn over Clare 1-21 to 0-22 on Sunday. They twice beat a Kerry team coached by Cummins in finals last year - in the Joe McDonagh Cup and the Division 2A league decider - to offer notice of their improvement and hit the ground running as competitive action returned at the weekend.

"It certainly wasn't any major surprise to me," former Tipperary goalkeeper Cummins told RTÉ's Morning Ireland.

"Since Darren Gleeson took over the Antrim team last year having been a coach up there he's done a fantastic job.

"The return of Neil McManus to full fitness... last year during the league and the Joe McDonagh, he'd only been a bit-part player. It was really frustrating as a hurling man looking at him coming on and you were wondering if he was going to break down [on Sunday] but he scored the points at the finish to get Antrim over the line."

Clare, meanwhile, were left to lick their wounds after a disappointing display. It's extremely early days for all teams who will take a number of weeks to become fully tuned up again. Cummins said the Banner were simply caught cold in a tricky first fixture.

"Clare and Antrim were in stark contrast to each other. Clare are struggling for form. Going up to Corrigan Park, it's never ever an easy place to go.

"Antrim are on the crest of a wave. There's certainly big question marks over Clare. The good news, or bad news, for Brian Lohan is there's another game next weekend [against Wexford].

"If they can get a win next weekend it'll give them a little boost and get them back on the road again."