A late goal from Antrim substitute Donal Nugent snatched a late draw for the Saffron’s at Netwatch Cullen Park on Saturday afternoon.
In a thrilling affair that both sides seemed to have control of during different periods of the game, a draw was a fair result come the final whistle.
Carlow free-taker Marty Kavanagh led the charge for his side early on with four points to give Carlow an 0-08 to 0-05 lead. Antrim responded with goals from Ciaran Clarke and captain Conor McCann to push the Ulster side into a 2-10 to 0-15 lead at half-time.
The Barrowsider’s started the second-half in superior fashion to how they had finished the first scoring a goal of their own to lead by a point, 1-19 to 2-15, as referee Conor McAllister signalled for the second- half water break. Colm Bonnar made an inspired substitution after the break, bringing on IT Carlow student Chris Nolan who scored four points to extend Carlow’s lead.
Bonnar’s team led by two scores throughout the course of the second-half until Antrim were awarded a dubious penalty on the hour mark. It was ruthlessly disposed of to make it a one-point game with ten minutes left on the clock.
Further scores from brothers John and Chris Nolan extended Carlow’s lead to three points lead with the full additional time of three minutes completed. However, there was to be one last chance for Antrim in the 74th minute when Nugent found the back of the net to pick up a precious point for his side and dent Carlow’s chances of promotion to next year’s Leinster Senior Hurling Championship.
Carlow continue their quest to make this season’s final in Croke Park on 13th December with a home tie against Meath on 7th November at 2pm.