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A look at all the #StyleOfPlay action from the Joe McDonagh Cup

Catch up on all the #StyleOfPlay action from the opening first round of the Joe McDonagh Cup right here!

The first round of the Joe McDonagh Cup kicked off last weekend and we have all the #StyleOfPlay action right here!

It was a packed weekend with Hurling, as three matches of the first round in the Joe McDonagh Cup took place.

Antrim, Carlow and Westmeath all got off to a flying start with victories, whereas defeats for Kerry, Laois and Meath will mean that these teams will have to fight back in the next round.

Antrim 5-25 Meath 2-18, Páirc Tailteann

It was a slow start for Antrim, but once they got into gear, there was no stopping them as they eased their way to victory over Meath.

During the opening half, it looked like Meath were in control of the game. After 20 minutes, they led 2-8 t0 0-7, with goals coming from Gavin McGowan and Alan Douglas.

Antrim weren’t playing to the same level as Meath, as the Royals were picking up their passes and finishing them cleanly with scores. However, the Saffrons quickly responded and turned things around. By halftime, they had grabbed the lead, pushing out ahead, 1-14 to 2-8.

This only continued into the second half for Antrim, as Meath were unable to keep up and draw the game back. Antrim players Conor Johnston, Nigel Elliot and Simon McCrory were in brilliant form, showing their skills and moreover their scoring abilities.

Elliot had a brilliant run, bursting through the Meath defence to land the sliotar in the back of the net. This gave Antrim the energy they needed, and once they got going, there was really no stopping them.

They scored three goals in the space of five minutes, torturing the Meath defence. Two came from Elliot and one came from Johnson.

Meath persisted though, and substitutions Sean Quigley and Paddy Conneely came on looking determined, scoring a point apiece. Antrim were awarded a penalty which Johnston whacked into the back of the net, sealing a victory for the Saffrons.

Westmeath 2-21 Laois 1-21, O’Moore Park

Laois have been left with very little room for error, after losing out to Westmeath in the first round of the Joe McDonagh Cup.

It was nailing biting hurling between these sides as both were level in the final five minutes of the match, with Westmeath hoping to get their first Championship win over Laois in 50 years.

Westmeath took the lead from the start of this match, as Laois struggled to keep up. Points from Paddy Purcell and Robbie King kept Laois in the game as they equalised out with Westmeath. It was the Lake County though that were looking stronger, with Robbie Greville securing them a goal, and they maintained a three-point lead.

Laois began to apply some pressure with points coming from Cha Dwyer and Ben Conroy as they began to close the gap. A free from King brought Laois back to within one.

With Laois now looking confident, Cha Dwyer fired the sliotar towards the goal line from 20 yards out, though it was brilliantly saved by Paddy Carroll.

However, Neil Foyle was there to tap the rebound ball into the back of the net. Come the halftime whistle, Laois were ahead by 1-13 to 1-10, but Westmeath were still very much in it and it was all to play for.

Westmeath came back into the second half looking determined as ever and found an equalising goal in the opening 30 seconds which was hit by Niall Mitchell. With ten minutes left to go, Westmeath held the lead 2-18 to 1-18, though Laois responded.

Matthew Whelan and Dwyer both knocked over points. It was back level for the final few minutes. Both teams were scrambling for a winning point, as the clock ticked on, but it was Westmeath who prevailed, as they tallied up another three points to secure themselves a well-fought win.

Carlow 0-21 Kerry 0-18, Netwatch Cullen Park

This match between Kerry and Carlow was great entertainment in the first round of the Joe McDonagh Cup.

Carlow were temperamental throughout, but five points in a row from Colm Bonnar‘s men was enough to give them the victory over the Kingdom.

Within the opening 10 minutes, both sides were level with 5 points each. Carlow’s Chris Nolan was unfortunate to miss a goal chance, though Edward Byrne was on hand to knock the saved shot over the bar to give Carlow a one-point lead 0-10 to 0-9 come half time.

Kerry edged out in front with points from Padraig Boyle and Jack Goulding, giving them a 0-18 to 0-16 advantage. With 5 mins left, it looked like the Kingdom could well be the winners.

Carlow responded brilliantly and knocked five points in a row over the bar from the likes of Jack Kavanagh, Kevin McDonald, James Doyle and Ross Smithers. This was enough for Carlow to claim victory and will have good momentum as they face Antrim this weekend in Round 2.

Littlewoods Ireland are proud sponsors of the All Ireland Senior Hurling Championship. Keep yourself up to date with all the #StyleOfPlay here!

Ellen McConville

Typically found on the sidelines or in Croke Park, Ellen is the Sports Content Editor for Littlewoods Ireland and your go-to gal for all things GAA. A big lover of all things Christy Moore, fashion and some wine and cheese as well.

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