Carlow were beaten by Antrim 1-13 to 2-09 in the second round of the All-Ireland Senior Football Championships after Carlow had a man sent off.
The game got off to a slow start after both teams got to two points apiece after twelve minutes but there was no scores until the 22nd minute when Kevin Niblock finally put another point on the board for Antrim.
The slow point scoring start was down to badly missed chances and Willie McSorley in the Antrim goal, saving a shot off the line from Daniel St Ledger in the 26th minute.
After Niblock broke the scoring duck, Antrim started to pull away from Carlow despite an injury to their captain Kevin O’Boyle, replaced by Aaron Douglas in the 20th minute, and with five minutes of the first half to play the Ulster side were four points to the good.
Carlow got back into it thanks to the well-placed free kicks of St Ledger and Carlow boss Luke Dempsey would have been happy going into the break having narrowed the gap to just one point as the scores stood at 0-6 to 0-5.
The second half got underway with a dream start for Carlow when Patrick Hickey blasted past Willie McSorley in the Antrim goal.
Carlow were playing good football and Daragh Foley made it 1-6 to 0-6 with nearly 10 minutes gone in the second half.
Antrim manager Liam Bradley saw the need for a change in his side and he introduced Paddy Cunningham in the second half to great effect when the centre forward pulled one back for Antrim in the 48th minute and again in the 51st minute, either side of another point for both Antrim and Carlow.
The gap was narrowed to just one point but disaster struck for Carlow with 15 minutes to go when a double blow saw them concede a goal and get Ed Finnegan sent off following a second yellow card for the use of an elbow.
Mark Dougan got the goal after Carlow keeper Trevor O’Reilly went to catch a long punt by Tony Scullion only to be beaten to the ball by a punch from Mark Dougan.
Antrim started to pull away after the goal and the extra man took their toll on the Leinster side with Cunningham looking particularly impressive for Antrim.
The comeback seemed to be on however, when in the 67th minute Brendan Murphy powered a great shot past McSorley to score Carlow’s second goal which was followed by a quick point by St Ledger to make the difference between the two teams just one point.
O’Reilly saved what looked like a point for Antrim in the last minute of normal time but it was not to be for Carlow as Antrim held out for victory, the final 1-13 to 2-09.
Antrim 1-13 v 2-09 Carlow
70+3min The referee blows the final whistle and Carlow will feel hard done by after decent second half but it’s Antrim who progress to the next round of the All-Ireland Championship.
70min O’Reilly saves a point that looks like it would’ve won it for Antrim.
68min St Ledger scores another point for Carlow.
67min Brendan Murphy scores a goal for Carlow to make the last few minutes very interesting at Casement Park.
66min Kevin Niblock scores for Antrim and are taking advantage of the extra man.
62min Antrim keeper McSorley makes a great save after a shot from Brendan Murphy.
60min Antrim score another point through Gerard O’Boyle .
59min Antrim score a point after what should have been a goal.
57min Paddy Cunningham scores his third point to regain Antrim’s two point lead.
56min Carlow bring it back to one point through Brian Murphy.
55min Carlow are down to 14 men after Ed Finnegan is sent off. There’s confusion over the reason and Carlow find themselves a man down and two points down in the space of a minute.
54min Goal for Antrim after a blunder from Carlow keeper O’Reilly, Brendan Herron punches it into the back of the net.
53min Walsh is booked for Carlow after a mistimed shoulder.
51min Cunningham scores again after a free for Antrim. Just one point in it now.
50min Thomas Walsh scores a point in response to Antrim’s latest.
49min Antrim score a point after a questionable free kick is given by the referee.
48min Substitute Paddy Cunningham scores a point for Antrim to get back in the game.
47min Tony Scullion shoots wide for Antrim.
43min Daragh Foley scores from a free for Carlow. Carlow have started the second half brightly.
41min McCann hits the post for Antrim.
36min Goal for Carlow, scored by Patrick Hickey.
36min The game restarts for the second half.
It’s half time at Casement Park. After a slow start Antrim started to pull away but Carlow have come back into the game in the last 5 minutes.
35+4min Antrim miss a free after niggling fouls break up the play.
35+2min Daniel St Ledger narrows the gap to 1 point.
35+1min St Ledger scores another free for Carlow.
35min There will be 3 minutes of added time.
35min St Ledger scores from a 45 for Carlow.
31min Antrim score another point.
30min Carlow miss another chance.
29min Antrim score again.
27min Thomas McCann scores a good point for Antrim to double the lead.
26min St Ledger’s shot is cleared off the line.
24min Brendan Murphy and the Antrim full back are both booked.
22min Finally another point for Antrim, scored by Niblock.
20min Aaron Douglas comes on after an injury to Antrim captain Kevin O’Boyle.
18min St Ledger shoots left and wide for Carlow.
16min Carlow come close with a shot which is saved by the Antrim keeper.
15min Antrim hit another wide.
12min Antrim level the scores.
11min Carlow take the lead from a free taken by Foley.
8min Daragh Foley kicks the first point for Carlow.
7min Positive play from Carlow after keeping possession but the attack doesn’t end in a point.
5min Antrim miss an easy point scoring chance.
3min St Ledger kicks a free wide for Carlow.
1min Conor Murray scores the first point for Antrim.
1min Game kicks off.
0min It’s nearly time for kick off at Casement Park.
Antrim play host to Carlow at Casement Park in the second round of the All Ireland senior football qualifiers. The home side will be hot favourites to progress from this tie and book their place in the third round draw of the series.
The Saffrons have made the Ulster Final in the last couple of years but exited the championship at the hands of Donegal in the preliminary round this season. Despite the 1-10 to 0-7 scoreline,the match was much closer than this suggests,with the winners hitting their goal in the dying minutes. Donegal have gone on to reach the provincial final and this may not have been a bad effort from Antrim under the circumstances.
Luke Dempsey’s Carlow shocked Louth in their Leinster championship clash but later exited following a heavy defeat to Wexford. Despite that setback, the midlanders have shown massive improvement this season and cannot be written off lightly. However,given that they face a difficult trip up North and Casement Park is a tight pitch, Dempsey and his men will not find it easy.
Antrim are taken to progress from this tie and most likely they will have something to spare. It would not be a surprise to see Carlow give it one final fling and attempt to cap what has already been a fantastic season. However,the home side should have that little bit extra and this should see them through.