Antrim need to get real after Carlow defeat: PJ O'Mullan
Antrim 1-11 Carlow 1-17
A reality check. That was how manager PJ O'Mullan branded Antrim's six-point defeat to Carlow in Ballycastle.
The Saffrons saw their chance of securing promotion from Division 2A extinguished by a sharper, slicker Carlow side. Now the Ulster champions must regroup for the forthcoming Christy Ring Cup campaign next month.
The home side were forced to battle with 14 men for the majority of the contest after Barry McFall picked up a second yellow card on 19 minutes.
Captain Neal McAuley was also dismissed late in the contest on a day to forget for Antrim.
After the game, manager PJ O'Mullan struggled to contain his frustration and disappointment at the result which will see Antrim compete in Division 2A once again next year.
"I can't explain it - I am gobsmacked," said O'Mullan.
"Maybe it is a reality check for people who think that Antrim should be in a better place."
Antrim briefly threatened a comeback in the second half when substitute James Connolly bagged a goal midway through the half but the goal was followed by four successive wides.
Antrim: C O'Connell; S McCrory, T McCloskey, O McFadden; N McAuley, C McKinley, B McFall; K McKernan (0-1), J McGreevy; N McKenna (0-1), Conor Johnston (0-3, 0-1f), S McAfee; C Clarke (0-2, 0-2fs), E McCloskey (0-1), L Watson (0-2, 0-1f, 0-1 65). Subs: M Dudley (0-1) for McGreevy (40), S McCaughan for McKernan (45), J Connolly (1-0) for Watson (45), D McCloskey for McKenna (65)
Carlow: J Barron; G Coady, M Killen, A Corcoran; D Byrne, D English (0-1), J O'Hara; J Doyle (0-2), J Kavanagh (0-1); K McDonald, M Kavanagh (1-1), S Murphy (0-2); D Murphy (0-8, 0-7fs), S Murphy, S Whelan (0-1)
Subs: J Nolan (0-1) for Whelan (47), R Kelly for S Murphy (61)
Ref: S Cleere (Kilkenny)