Christy Ring Cup: Antrim beaten by Carlow in Croke Park final

Carlow's David English drives forward in Saturday's decider against the Saffrons
Carlow's David English drives forward in Saturday's decider against the Saffrons

Antrim suffered a 5-23 to 4-15 defeat by Carlow in Saturday's Christy Ring Cup decider at Croke Park.

The sides were level four times before a James Doyle hat-trick helped Carlow to a 3-12 to 1-7 half-time lead, with Eoghan Campbell netting for Antrim.

Carlow remained in control with Martin Kavanagh and Doyle netting while Ciaran Clarke (2) and Neil McManus scored the Antrim goals.

The win sees Carlow progress to an All-Ireland qualifier against Laois.

Carlow posed a strong threat to Antrim's rear-guard, and following their opening goal from Doyle after 22 minutes, the Barrowsiders failed to trail in this game.

Doyle pounced for his side's second goal six minutes later, to push his side 2-8 to 0-6 ahead.

Antrim responded from the resulting puck-out, as Campbell finished to the net past Carlow keeper James Carroll, after a goalmouth scramble.

Doyle on target again

Carlow responded well, and tagged on 1-4 without reply, with Doyle completing his treble in the 34th minute after sending an unstoppable shot past Saffrons keeper Chris O'Connell.

Eleven points ahead at the interval, Carlow pushed 13 clear on the restart, following a brace of John Michael Nolan scores.

Antrim failed to give up with Clarke netting in the 38th minute, but Carlow's fourth goal arrived eight minutes later, with captain Kavanagh firing to the net.

Again the Ulster side responded to a Carlow goal with one of their own, this time McManus ploughed a close-range free past a crowded goalmouth.

Ten points separated the sides at this stage, and while Antrim cut the gap to seven points, with Clarke netting his second goal in the 56th minute, Carlow drove on.

Antrim were outscored by 1-4 to 0-1 over the next 11 minutes, with Doyle firing his fourth goal to help Carlow to a 5-22 to 4-12 lead.

The Saffrons finished strongly with three of the final four points, but it wasn't enough as Kavanagh accepted the cup from GAA president Aogan O Fearghail after the game.

WEEKEND HURLING RESULTS/FIXTURES

Saturday

Lory Meagher Cup Final

Warwickshire 0-17 0-11 Leitrim, Croke Park

Nicky Rackard Cup Final

Armagh 2-15 3-23 Derry, Croke Park

Christy Ring Cup Final

Carlow 5-23 4-15 Antrim, Croke Park

Leinster SHC semi-final

Wexford v Kilkenny, Wexford Park, 19:00

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