Carlow 2-18 Antrim 1-11: Carlow’s 10-point victory over visitors Antrim at Netwatch Cullen Park yesterday in this final round robin Leinster SHC tie saw the Barrowsiders retain their Liam MacCarthy Cup status while condemning the Saffrons to the Christy Ring Cup for 2016.
Both sides were reduced to 13 men while there was an 11-minute hold-up for an injury to Antrim left full back Ryan McCambridge just on the hour mark.
McCambridge suffered concussion following a clash with Carlow’s Edward Coady and an ambulance was brought unto the pitch to bring the Antrim player to hospital. Coady was issued with a straight red card.
Conor Johnson 10th minute goal put Antrim 1-2 to 0-1 ahead. Carlow’s Marty Kavanagh received a straight red in the 22nd minute for a striking offence. But strangely Carlow then took command, hitting a string of points, with Antrim’s only further score a pointed free by Conor Johnston.
Carlow led 0-8 to 1-3 at half time and a shrewd home switch which saw Eddie Byrne go from centre-forward to full-forward paid handsome dividends.
The outstanding Seán Murphy hurt the Antrim defence with his pace, ably assisted in attack by John Michael Nolan and free-taker Paul Coady. Further back Alan Corcoran, Shane Kavanagh and David English cut off all approaches to their goal while industrious midfielder Jack Kavanagh scored two superb second half points.
Murphy set up Paul Coady for a 51st minute goal as Carlow led 1-14 to 1-6 and with Antrim losing midfielder Ciaran Johnston to a second yellow card and Simon McCrory to a straight red there was no way back for Kevin Ryan’s men.
Seán Murphy shot a late goal to finish the scoring.
Carlow boss Pat English said: “We are back in the Leinster championship. We had to win and we did.”
Antrim boss, Kevin Ryan said: “We are devastated. We created a lot of chances but did not take them. It was possible to hope when trailing by five of six points but when it goes to eight or nine you need goals and we did not look like getting them.”
Scorers for Carlow:
P Coady 1-7, 0-5 frees, J M Nolan 0-3, S Murphy 1-1, E Byrne, J Kavanagh, M Kavanagh (both frees) 0-2 each, M Brennan 0-1.
Scorers for Antrim:
C Johnston 1-4, 0-3 frees, C Clarke 0-3, 0-2 frees, P Shiels (65), C McCann, O McFadden, M Bradley 0-1 each.
K Kehoe; S Kavanagh, J Rogers, A Corcoran; R Coady, D English, E Coady; D Byrne, J Kavanagh; Seán Murphy, E Byrne, J M Nolan; Seamus Murphy, M Kavanagh, P Coady.
M Brennan for Seamus Murphy (36); G Coady for Nolan (58).
C O’Connell; O McFaffen, J Dillon, R McCambridge; S McCrory, T McCann, C McKinley; C Johnston, N McAuley; P Shiels, C Carson, D McKernan; C Clarke, C McCann, C Johnston.
M Bradley for Shiels (h/t); M Donnelly for McAuley (h/t); E Campbell for McKernan (51); C Ross for McCambridge (injured) (59).
C McAllister (Cork).
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved