Antrim hold off Carlow to retain Leinster SHC spot

Carlow enjoyed the better of it early on as Martin Kavanagh and Seaan Elliott traded points before the visitors rattled off the next three.

Antrim had the first sight of goal after five minutes as Cunning miscued when attempting a first-time pull, but there was no denying the Dunloy man three minutes later as he was played in by McNaughton and finished to the net.

But Carlow seemed to always have an answer as they gradually opened a gap with a goal three minutes later as Nolan’s pace enabled him to break clear before finishing from a tight angle.

Nolan, Kavanagh, James Doyle and Conor Kehoe were all finding their range as they made the most of the wind advantage to help Carlow move five up.

Antrim were just not accurate at times but there was a sense they had the ability to create goals and their second came on 20 minutes as McNaughton found himself through to finish and bring his side to within two.

A third major came four minutes later from a penalty when Seaan Elliott was bundled over by Paul Doyle for what was deemed a goalscoring opportunity outside the area with Doyle also sin-binned with Cunning finishing the award to bring the game level.

Carlow again replied with three of the next four points as all six starting forwards had now registered, but Antrim finished the half well with a pair of Cunning frees and then Keelan Molloy clipped them into the lead for the first half in stoppage time as the Saffrons led 3-9 to 1-14.