| 5.8°C Belfast

Antrim are left to suffer further relegation woe


Downcast: Antrim boss Kevin Ryan described loss as a blow

Downcast: Antrim boss Kevin Ryan described loss as a blow

?INPHO/Tommy Grealy

Downcast: Antrim boss Kevin Ryan described loss as a blow

Antrim's disastrous hurling year suffered another massive blow when they were relegated to the Christy Ring Cup for the 2016 season after being turned over by Carlow at Dr Cullen Park.

Antrim had an extra man for over half of this Leinster SHC round robin clash but could not make it count in a contest where both sides finished with 13 men.

Antrim manager Kevin Ryan said that dropping to the Christy Ring Cup, just weeks after being relegated to the third tier in the national league, was a significant blow to hurling in the county.

"It is a massive setback for us with the league and that together. But it is what it is and we have to deal with it," said Ryan.

"It is not a day for figuring out how to deal with it. I told everyone, it is not a day for making any decisions for anybody. We will see in a couple of weeks."

Carlow looked to be in serious danger of making the drop when they trailed by 1-2 to 0-1 after just 10 minutes.

Sloppy defending led to the Antrim goal and Conor Johnston took it well and while Carlow recovered to draw level, free-taker Martin Kavanagh was sent off after 20 minutes.

Carlow only led by 0-8 to 1-3 at the break but they exchanged points three times with Antrim in the opening 12 minutes of the second half before the home side hit their best spell of the game.

The Saffrons lost Ciaran Johnston to a straight red after 55 minutes and wing-back Simon McCrory and Carlow's Eddie Coady were also sent off in separate incidents.

Paul Coady, John Michael Nolan and Eddie Byrne extended Carlow's lead before Coady made it 1-14 to 0-6 after 50 minutes.

Antrim didn't give up but never looked like getting the goals they needed and it was Carlow who finished on a high when Sean Murphy blasted to the net.

Belfast Telegraph