Antrim run rings around Carlow

August 06, 2006
Antrim are 2006 Christy Ring Cup winners after a facile 5-13 to 1-7 victory over Carlow in a one-sided final at Croke Park. The second-tier All-Ireland SHC final was no contest and Antrim had a whopping 18 points to spare despite easing up in the second and third quarters. The winners completely dominated the first half and led by fourteen points after seventeen minutes, 3-5 to no score. Four more points were traded before the interval with the match as good as over. Antrim goalie DD Quinn made a routine first-minute save from Robbie Foley and Johnny McIntosh fired the Glensmen into an early lead from a free after Brian McFall had been fouled. McIntosh doubled the advantage in the third minute with another free, from a central position 45 metres out. Paddy Richmond had the ball in the Carlow net in the sixth minute but the full forward was penalised for overcarrying and the 'goal' was ruled out. McIntosh added another free after Richmond had landed a spectacular tenth-minute point from play and Malachy Molloy took the fifth point from a '65'. Joey Scullion nonchalantly lobbed the sliothar over Carlow 'keeper Frank Foley for the opening goal in the 14th minute and, at 1-5 to 0-0, the match was already effectively over as a contest. A second Saffron major followed almost immediately when Foley took his eye off McIntosh's long delivery and allowed the ball to bobble across the line. Scullion placed Ciaran Kelly on his own in front of goal and the Antrim centre forward rocketed a shot to the net to make it 3-5 to no score at the end of the first quarter. It was one-way traffic as Richmond added another point before Antrim recorded their first wide in the 26th minute. Outstanding midfielder Damien Roberts finally opened the Barrowsiders' account to a huge roar in the 27th minute but the same player soon struck Carlow's ninth wide. Foley redeemed himself with an excellent save from McFall, diverting the sliothar over the bar for Antrim's seventh point. Robbie Foley pointed for Carlow but there were still 14 points between the sides. Scullion was almost through for a fourth Antrim goal but was hooked at the last second by Des Shaw when a three-pointer seemed inevitable. When Richmond was pulled to ground inside the square, Antrim were awarded a penalty in the last minute of the first half. However, McFall miss-hit his shot and Foley saved well. The short whistle sounded with the northerners well in front, 3-7 to 0-2. Pat Coady closed the gap with a pointed free but Carlow continued to shoot themselves in the foot with a succession of disappointing wides. Dunloy clubman Molloy notched Antrim's first point of the second period with a nice free as the Ulster county remained comfortably ahead. Substitute Seanie McMahon flicked over a stunning Carlow point and the gap was down to eleven when Coady converted a brace of 65s in the 51st and 53rd minutes. Antrim had eased up completed but came back to life when McIntosh pulled on a loose ball for his second goal in the 56th minute. Scullion almost added a fifth Antrim goal but Foley came off his line impressively to close the nippy young forward down. Full forward and captain Robbie Foley supplied Carlow's next point in the 61srt minute and Kelly replied two minutes later to keep the margin at 14. McFall extended the differential with a great point over his shoulder and substitute Paddy McGill added another point for the runaway winners. McFall drove home another Antrim goal after wonderful approach play by wing back Molloy and Carlow struck a consolation goal in the last minute of normal time. Goalkeeper Foley slammed a penalty to the roof of the net after a blatant foul on the industrious Des Murphy, who had actually scored anyway and was unlucky not to have been accredited with the goal himself. Substitute Brian Delargy closed the scoring with a lovely point from play as Antrim ran out easy winners.

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