Joe McDonagh Cup – Round Two – Saturday May 12
Antrim 2-16 Carlow 0-19
Brendan McTaggart reports from Corrigan Park
Four red cards, a 50 minute second half, off the ball incidents, but one winner. Championship hurling – you couldn’t beat it. At one stage under the burning sun in west Belfast, it looked like we were heading for the Calamity in Corrigan with the game stopped for close to five minutes for referee John O’Brien to deal with numerous incidents, but by the end of normal time, all 85 minutes of it, it’s Antrim who took the spoils in the Battle of Whiterock. You will go far to see a championship game that will provide more twists and turns from start to finish – a hugely an enthralling and action packed contest. Carlow looked to have Antrim on the ropes at the start of a marathon second half but the Saffrons produced more moments of brilliant hurling throughout that proved to be decisive.
They didn’t quite hit the heights of Páirc Tailteann last Saturday, it was never going to be. Carlow are a physically imposing side and came to Corrigan Park wanting to bully the Saffrons. They came with a game plan of dragging the game into the trenches and rucks, stop Antrim from finding the fluent brilliance from seven days ago and go from there. After the Christy Ring final, Carlow manager Colm Bonner said to the Antrim management that they would have swapped their success in Croke Park that day for the promotion Antrim gained as it would stand the by the Saffrons better in the long run. We didn’t have too far to see just how much it has helped. Two points in the end as Antrim held their nerve, composure and discipline while the Barrowsiders crumbled…..
Antrim: Ryan Elliott; Stephen Rooney, John Dillon, Conor McKinley; Joe Maskey, Paddy Burke, Ryan McCambridge; Eoghan Campbell, Simon McCrory; Nigel Elliott, Conor Johnston, Neil McManus; Donal McKinley, Michael Armstrong, Conor McCann
Subs: James McNaughton for D McKinley (46); Eddie McCloskey for C McCann (59); David Kearney for J Maskey (60); Neal McAuley for R McCambridge (inj); Conor Carson for M Armstrong (inj)
Carlow: Brian Tracey; Alan Corcoan, Paul Doyle, Michael Doyle; Richard Coady, David English, Dairmuid Byrne; Jack Kavanagh, Kevin McDonald; John-Michael Nolan, Paul Coady, Edward Byrne; James Doyle, Denis Murphy, Ross Smither
Subs: Chris Nolan for R Smithers (46); Dion Wall for M Doyle (62); Jack Murphy for E Byrne (67); Conor Foley for P Coady (inj); Seamus Murphy for D Murphy (inj)
Scorers for Antrim: Neil McManus 1-8 (7f); Nigel Elliott 1-2; Conor Johnston 0-2 (1f); Michael Armstrong 0-1; Joe Maskey 0-1; Eoghan Campbell 0-1; Eddie McCloskey 0-1
Scorers for Carlow: Denis Murphy 0-11 (7f); James Doyle 0-2; John-Michael Nolan 0-2; Chris Nolan 0-2; Conor Foley 0-2
Referee: John O’Brien (Laois)