Sunday 17 December 2017

O'Connell and Shiels are too hot to handle for Carlow

Antrim 2-18 Carlow 1-17

Darren Hamill, Antrim, in action against Jack Kavanagh, Carlow
Darren Hamill, Antrim, in action against Jack Kavanagh, Carlow
Neal McAuley, Antrim, in action against Shane Kavanagh, Carlow
Denis Murphy, Carlow, with support from team-mate Marty Kavanagh, in action against Conor McFadden, Antrim
Antrim manager Kevin Ryan

Antrim made it two wins out of two in the round-robin games after this hard-earned success over Carlow in Dr Cullen Park.

They had to thank the accuracy of their centre half-forward Paul Shiels and the goalscoring ability of PJ O'Connell for this success.

Between the two of them they accounted for 2-14 of the winners' total and for the entire 70 minutes they stretched the Carlow defence with their ability to strike from distance or close to goal.

On seven minutes, O'Connell drifted behind the Carlow defence and took a pass from Ciaran Clarke to rifle home from close range.

The Barrowsiders replied through points from brothers Jack and Marty Kavanagh, while Andrew Gaul and Shane Kavanagh also split the posts.

A Paul Coady point gave the home side the lead, but the free-taking ability of Shiels proved vital.

It was mainly his contribution which helped his side lead 1-11 to 0-12 at the interval. The visitors also kept their noses in front after the break. Carlow got within a point at one stage but could never edge back in front.

The home defence were then guilty of committing hari-kari when a short puck-out went wrong and a Carlow defender was dispossessed. O'Connell did the necessary from close range.

Carlow did respond and when Andrew Gaul was fouled, Marty Kavanagh buried the resultant penalty.

With Antrim supporters on the edge, it was fitting that O'Connell should get the final point that gave the visitors a four-point lead which they held to the end.

Scorers – Antrim: P Shiels 0-11 (8fs), PJ O'Connell 2-3, C Clarke (1f), C McManus 0-2 each. Carlow: M Kavanagh 1-4 (1-0 pen, 1f), D Murphy 0-3 (3fs), J Kavanagh, S Kavanagh, A Gaul, P Coady 0-2 each, R Coady, J Doyle 0-1 each.

Antrim – C O'Connell; O McFadden, C McKinley, C Johnson; A Graffin, N McAuley, N McManus; E Campbell, S McRory; C Carson, P Shiels, C McManus; C Clarke, D Hamill, PJ O'Connell. Subs: B McFall for McRory (h-t), D McKernan for Hamill (51), J McGreevey for Carson (52), T McCann for Clarke (67).

Carlow – B Treacy; A Corcoran, P Doyle, G Kelly; HP O'Byrne, D English, R Coady; J Kavanagh, C Wall; S Kavanagh, E Byrne, J Doyle; M Kavanagh, P Coady, D Murphy. Subs: A Gaul for E Byrne (3), D Byrne for O'Byrne (h-t).

Ref – F Horgan (Tipperary)

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