JOHN Meyler's reign as Carlow manager got off to a winning start at bitingly cold Dr Cullen Park as the Barrowsiders crushed Antrim.
Following an early exchange of points, Carlow went in front in the fifth minute through a score from play by right half- forward Sean Murphy – and it was a lead they were never to lose.
With a strong spine to the team, Carlow took control and they eased into a 0-7 to 0-2 lead. By the break they were 0-11 to 0-6 to the good.
Three minutes into the second half great stickwork by Marty Kavanagh set up corner-forward Paul Coady for a simple tap-in to the Antrim net to extend the lead. By that stage all starting six home forwards had made the scoresheet.
Antrim – managed by former Carlow boss Kevin Ryan, who offered no excuses for defeat – tried hard, but were unable to unlock a solid home defence in which full-back Eoin Nolan and half-backs Richard and Edward Coady were outstanding.
While play became somewhat scrappy in the game's later stages, Carlow held their composure and, but for a series of outstanding saves from the Saffrons goalie Ryan McGarry, the winning margin of 10 points would have been greater.
Scorers – Carlow: M Kavanagh 0-7 (2f, 2 '65') J M Nolan 0-4, P Coady 1-0, S Murphy, P Nolan 0-2 each, D English, S Kavanagh 0-1 each. Antrim: N McManus 0-4 (2f, 1 '65'), K McKiernan (1 sl), P Doherty (2f) 0-2 each, C Rea, S McNaughton 0-1 each.
Carlow – N Roberts; H P O'Byrne, E Nolan, D Shaw; J O'Hara, R Coady, E Coady; D English, J Kavanagh; S Murphy, S Kavanagh, M Kavanagh; P Nolan, J M Nolan, P Coady. Subs: B Treacy for Roberts (58), D Roberts for P Coady (61), A Gaule for P Nolan (65), D Byrne for Murphy (67), K McCabe for E Coady (69).
Antrim – R McGarry; M Gettens, C Carson, B McCall; K McKiernan, C McGinley, K McKeague; C Rea, S McRory; S Beaty, N McManus, K B McShane; D McClean, P Doherty, S McNaughton. Subs: M Donnelly for Gettens (h-t), N Peoples for McKeague (h-t), C Morgan for Rea (h-t), C McFall for McClean (h-t), P Shiels for McShane (51).
Ref – J Owens (Wexford).