National Hurling League: Clare beat Kilkenny, Wexford hold off Dublin, Kildare win promotion
It may have been a testing campaign for the Clare hurlers, but they have finished on a high with an impressive win over Kilkenny.
Clare 4-20 Kilkenny 1-25
After a difficult opening to the Allianz Hurling League, Clare have completed their crescendo in recent weeks with a third consecutive victory, and undoubtedly the most pleasing of the lot.
The Banner County continued their recent dominance against Kilkenny, making it six matches without a loss against the Nore-siders.
Brian Cody’s charges travelled to Ennis with the top spot in Division 1B already secured. Nonetheless, they were looking to finish the Allianz League on a high, with five wins from five.
Two first-half Tony Kelly goals, one from a penalty, helped the Banner into a 2-6 to 0-5, but the Cats finished the half strongly to trail 2-9 to 0-14 at the break.
The visitors then edged ahead in the third quarter, leading 0-21 to 2-14 at the water break.
But Clare then sprung into action, with quickfire goals from David Reidy and Aron Shanagher.
Martin Keoghan did find the net for the Cats, but Brian Lohan’s bench made a telling impact as Gary Cooney and Ryan Taylor pointed to help Clare over the line.
Wexford 0-25 Dublin 1-18
The Model County bounced back from disappointing results against Kilkenny and Laois in recent weeks, with a hard-fought victory over Dublin.
Wexford dominated the second quarter, turning a 0-6 to 0-5 deficit at the water break into a 0-15 to 0-8 lead at the halfway mark.
However, the visitors hit back after the break. A Donal Burke penalty helped the Sky Blues claw their way back into contention, as they pulled it back to three at the second water break.
But they were left with too much to do, as the Yellowbellies held on for the win.
Antrim 2-23 Laois 1-22
Already condemned to the relegation play-off against Westmeath, Laois completed their Division 1B campaign with a fifth consecutive loss.
The O’Moore County fell to Darren Gleeson’s improving Antrim side, as late goals from Eoghan Campbell and Niall McCormack helped the Saffrons over the line.
The win secures a fourth-placed spot for the Joe McDonagh Cup champions, as they finish ahead of Dublin who they face in the Leinster Championship quarter-final later this month.
NHL Division 1B
Kildare secured promotion to Division 2A for 2022, with a comeback victory over Mayo in Castlebar.
In what was a de facto final, the Westerners led by 1-14 to 1-9 at the break. However, David Herity’s charges stormed back in the second half to prevail 2-24 to 1-19.
Elsewhere, Derry condemned Roscommon to relegation with a 1-26 to 0-14 win at Owenbeg.
In the penultimate round of action in Division 3A, there were wins for Sligo and Monaghan.
The Yeats County overcame Tyrone, 1-18 to 0-14, while the Farney County beat Longford, 1-20 to 3-13.
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