Hurling & Camogie

Antrim second best to Dublin in Parnell Park

The home side started and finished this game in devastating fashion

Darren Gleeson
Darren Gleeson saw his Antrim side fall to another heavy defeat on the road. Picture: Seamus Loughran (seamus loughran)

Leinster SHC round three Dublin 3-32 Antrim 1-18

IT was back down to earth with a bump for Antrim at Parnell Park as Dublin pulled away down the stretch to win in emphatic fashion.

Coupled with Kilkenny’s surprise draw at Carlow, the result leaves Micheál Donoghue’s men sitting on top of the pile in Leinster and they always looked likely to grab the win on a scorching Saturday afternoon.

When they found the net after a mere 10 seconds through Paul Crummey, it set the tone for the day and although Antrim whittled a 10-point deficit down to four early in the second half, the hosts managed to halt that momentum and push on again.

Antrim were in the game entering the final straight when trailing by six, but when Brian Hayes banged home Dublin’s second goal, the floodgates opened with the life sucked out of Antrim and they piled on the scores to put an exclamation point on their day. Donal Burke finished with 1-12 over the piece, with his brother Conor and Sean Currie clipping over five points apiece. In all, Dublin had 12 different names on the scoresheet including all of their starting forwards and midfielders in a complete display.

“We said before the game that the last couple of encounters with Antrim, there was only a puck of the ball between us, so we gave them massive repeat,” said Dublin manager, Donoghue.

“With this being our first home game (in the competition), we put a lot of emphasis on that, so it’s great to come back here, put in a performance like that and get the win.”

Crummey gave them that perfect start when he got a touch to Conor Burke’s long delivery and although Antrim steadied, Dublin began to take charge to out-score Antrim by seven points to one in a 15-minute spell. The visitors were unable to gain much primary ball with Dublin lording it around then middle and mistakes from Antrim also gifted opportunities. The lead was 10 by this stage and in truth, could have been much more only for a host of wides and some scrambled defence.

Antrim needed a spark and they got it on 28 minutes as a move from out the back led by Eoghan Campbell saw him find Nigel Elliott who put James McNaughton away and although he had plenty of work to do, the Loughgiel man shrugged off challenges to find the net.

The teams would go score-for-score into the break as Dublin led 1-13 to 1-7, but Antrim, despite having been second best for the most part, seemed to be back in it.

Those suspicions were raised further as Antrim landed early scores through Nigel Elliott and Keelan Molloy, but they couldn’t push on.

Dublin would clip over scores on the breakaway and gradually, they began pull away again with the Burkes and Sean Currie finding their range. Antrim rallied again to get the gap back to six, but then came the killer on 58 minutes as Dublin substitute Ronan Hayes popped into younger brother Brian who crashed home. To compound matters, on 65 minutes, Burke found the net from a free to rub salt into Antrim’s wounds as Dublin finished with a flourish.

“We struggled to retain ball in the first-half and it was the same in the second after we got a bit of fluency,” said a disappointed Antrim manager, Darren Gleeson.

“The 10 minutes before and after half-time, we looked a bit more like ourselves, but again, when the push came, we left it there and it was disappointing there wasn’t a second push in us.

“You’re not going to take back a six-point lead with six points – you’re going to need 10 or 11 to their four or five to balance it. We just seemed to go at it with a wrong mentality, but we’ll look at that and address it because we have two games left and can still be in the business end of the Championship.”

Meanwhile, the Leinster SHC had another dramatic twist on Saturday evening when Carlow picked up their first point of the campaign, Marty Kavanagh salvaging a 1-20 apiece draw against Kilkenny with his ninth point of the day.

It’s a result that means that Wexford could yet get drawn into a relegation battle if they were to slip up against Carlow next time out, while Kilkenny still have work to do to be sure of their place in the Leinster final.

It was all going according to expectations in the early exchanges when Martin Keoghan opened the scoring and Owen Wall following up with a goal. The Cats moved six points clear but a red card for Killian Doyle gave Carlow something of a boost, while midway through the second half, Brian Tracey kept them in the game with a superb save to deny Tom Phelan a second Kilkenny goal.

Once Conor Kehoe swept the ball to the net after Kavanagh’s initial shot was blocked at the other end, Carlow finished strongly, with James Doyle and Kavanagh striking the last two points deep into stoppage-time.

Dublin S Brennan; J Bellew (0-2), P Smyth, P Doyle; C Crummy, C Donohoe (0-1), E O’Donnell; B Hayes (1-0), C Burke (0-5); D Sutcliffe (0-1), D Burke (1-12, 1-8 frees, 0-1 65), S Currie (0-5); F Whitely (0-1), C O’Sullivan (0-2), P Crummey (1-0)

Subs R Hayes (0-2) for P Crummy (47), D Power (0-1) for D Sutcliffe (59), J Madden for C Crummy (64), J Malone for C O’Sullivan (65), S Gallagher (0-1) for B Hayes (69).

Antrim: R Elliott; N O’Connor, R McGarry, P Burke; G Walsh (0-2, 0-1 free), C Boyd, C Bohill; E Campbell (0-3), K Molloy (0-2); S Elliott (0-2), N Elliott (0-1), J McNaughton (1-2); C Cunning (0-4 frees), N McKenna (0-1), A O’Brien.

Subs J McLoughlin for A O’Brien (47), P Boyle for K Molly (50), F McCurry (0-1) for C Boyd (55), C McGarry for N McKenna (62), S McKay for C Cunning (66).

Referee Kevin Jordan (Tipperary)