Goal hero Doyle reminds me of Colin Fennelly - Bonnar
Carlow 5-23 Antrim 4-15
Carlow manager Colm Bonnar lavished praise on his star forward as he drew similarities between James Doyle and Kilkenny's Colin Fennelly after Carlow's Christy Ring Cup victory over Antrim at Croke Park on Saturday.
It was a stunning personal tally of 4-1 from the St Mullins clubman that helped Carlow to an emphatic 11-point success, and Denis Murphy tagged on an impressive 11 frees as well.
Doyle was the real star on show and his hat-trick in the first-half were all brilliantly taken efforts, while he showed composure to finish past Chris O'Connell for the fourth time with his only chance in the second-half.
"James Doyle has just got such power and pace, he reminds me of a young Colin Fennelly," said Bonnar. "He's so powerful. He is an athlete and in terms of power and speed and strength he could play any sport.
"He was on the Carlow IT team that got to the Fitzgibbon Cup final along with Marty Kavanagh. It takes a fair team to get to the Fitzgibbon Cup final, but those two lads had a big part to play in it.
"They can hurl with the best of them, you can see in Croke Park they really enjoyed the open spaces. They had a good attitude and they worked very hard all year and got their just rewards."
Doyle hammered home his first goal on 23 minutes when he took a pass from Eddie Byrne, who made a great break through the heart of the defence.
That score swung the game in Carlow's favour - Doyle added further strikes in the 29th and 34th minute, while Eoghan Campbell kept Antrim in the game when he finished following a goal-mouth scramble on the half-hour.
However, Antrim trailed by 11 points at half-time and were always chasing the game. It was centre-forward Martin Kavanagh who made the result safe 12 minutes into the second-half when he hit their fourth goal.
Corner-forward Ciaran Clarke kept up the fight for Antrim - he scored 2-9 - but despite another goal from Neil McManus they left with nothing.
Doyle hit another goal and Campbell saw red for an off-the-ball incident in stoppage-time.
"These boys can hurl, they can score and what has been killing us is that we haven't been taking our opportunities," said Bonnar.
"When we played Antrim in Dr Cullen Park we hit eight balls into the goalie's hands and had three or four goal chances.
"I knew that if they could put a day together and take their scores, we had only one wide in the first-half, that's what we can do."
Scorers - Carlow: J Doyle 4-1, D Murphy 0-11 (0-11f), M Kavanagh 1-2 (1f), D Byrn, J M Nolan 0-3 each, P Coady, R Kelly, C Nolan 0-1 each.
Antrim: C Clarke 2-9 (7f, 1 65), N McManus 1-2 (1-1f), E Campbell 1-0, P Shiels, P McGill, C McKinley, D McKernan 0-1 each.
Carlow: J Carroll 6; A Corcoran 6, P Doyle 7, G Bennett 6; R Coady 6, D English 6, R Kelly 7; J Kavanagh 7, D Byrne 8; J M Nolan 8, M Kavanagh 9, J Doyle 9; D Murphy 9, E Byrne 7, P Coady 7. Subs: K McDonald 6 for J Kavanagh (43), C Nolan 7 for Coady (46), S Murphy 6 for D Byrne (58), J Murphy 6 for D Murphy (69), S Whelan 6 for Doyle (72).
Antrim: C O'Connell 6; S McCrory 6, J Dillon 6, S Rooney 6; C Johnson 6, P Burke 6, A Graffin 6; C McKinley 7, P Shiels 7; N McAuley 6, C McCann 6, E Campbell 6; C Johnston 6, N McManus 7, C Clarke 9. Subs: N McKenna 6 for McAuley (26), D McKernan 6 for McCann (half-time), M Donnelly 6 for Dillon (51), C Cunning 6 for Johnston (68).
Ref - Mike Murtagh (Westmeath).