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The game at a glance

Man of the match: Michael Herron (Antrim)The contenders were all wearing Saffron. Neil McManus, as always, was in the shake-up and Darren Hamill added some great scores from play.

However, when things weren't going Antrim's way in the first half, it was their defence that had to dig them out and Michael Herron was outstanding in an excellent half-back line alongside Neal McAuley and Aaron Graffin.

Turning point

Hard to pin down a turning point in this game. Carlow's 52nd-minute goal from Paudie Kehoe seemed to inject a bit more urgency into the home side as it closed the gap to a point, but Antrim out-scored Carlow by nine points to two in the remainder of the game.

Talking point

It was a game played below champ-ionship pace. Antrim know that despite scoring 0-23, a similar performance won't be good enough in phase three.

Ref watch

James McGrath had a fairly easy assignment. The game never really caught fire and there was barely a dirty stroke in the entire game. He booked three players over the 70 minutes, but let the game flow when he could and, for the most part, had a decent game.

What they said

Dinny Cahill (Antrim):

"I wouldn't have been too pleased with the first half, but we did enough to stay on level terms. We showed in the second half that we could open up and play better hurling."

Kevin Ryan (Carlow manager):

"Most of those lads are doing all the work without any rewards. It is great that those lads keep doing it. You could see it in their faces that if I said, 'we will start again tomorrow night', they would have turned up."

Match statistics

Wides: Antrim 4 (4), Carlow 7 (5)

Frees: Antrim 3 (10), Carlow 6 (7)

Yellow cards: Antrim 2 (K Stewart, B McFall), Carlow 1 (E Nolan)

Attendance: 2,950

What next?

Antrim go into phase three of the qualifiers against Galway, Clare, Limerick or Wexford on July 10. First up for the Saffrons, however, is Sunday's Ulster final against surprise packet Armagh. For the Carlow players, it's yet another early end to their championship road.

Irish Independent