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National Hurling League: Antrim 0-10 Carlow 1-06

By John McElroy

Antrim turned in a late, late show at Casement Park yesterday to snatch victory in their mid-table clash with Carlow — but it wasn’t pretty by any means.

Rain during the first half and a slippery surface made life difficult for the players, as both teams laboured to master the conditions. In the end, the home side emerged with the league points.

The Saffrons just about deserved their victory as they turned in a business-like second half after trailing by 1-4 to 0-4 at half-time, Carlow’s goal being the result of the sliothar slipping out of Ciaran Hamill’s grasp as he attempted to grab Paulie Kehoe’s dropping free on the goal line.

Kehoe had been Carlow’s dangerman at right half-forward, but when Kevin Molloy was moved out from corner-back after the break, the Dunloy player did a good job of curbing him.

Indeed, the Antrim defence got to grips completely with the task on hand and confined the opposition to just two second-half points, keeping the losers scoreless for the closing 23 minutes of the game.

In that time, Antrim came more alive and the introduction of Karl Stewart to midfield helped greatly in that department. Also, Neil McManus won a lot of possession and frees.

Eventually, it was McManus who tapped over the winner three minutes from time after substitute Paul Shiels was brought down.

Antrim : S Hawes; K McGourty, S Shannon, K Molloy; N McAuley, J Campbell, C Herron; K McKeague, M Herron (0-1); N McManus (0-5, 5f), T McCann, S McCrory (0-2); D Hamill (0-1), S McNaughton PJ O’Connell. Subs: J McCouaig for McAuley (29), K Stewart (0-1) for C Herron (30), B McFall for McNaughton (44), P Shiels for Campbell (53).

Carlow: K Hehoe; A Corcoran, S Kavanagh, J O’Hara; E Coady, D Kavanagh (0-1,1f), R Coady; E Nolan J Kavanagh (0-1); P Kehoe (1-2, 1-1 frees), M Brennan, R Dunbar; A Gaul, E Byrne (0-1), A McDonald. Subs: K McCabe 6 for Byrne inj (25), A Brennan 5 for McDonald (half-time), HP Byrne (0-1) for Gaul (42), B Doyle for Dunbar (61).

Referee: B Gavin (Offaly).

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