Joe McDonagh Cup: Victory over Carlow can leave Antrim with one foot in the final
LIVE: Antrim v Carlow, Joe McDonagh Cup Round 3
WITH two wins from two, Antrim head into Saturday’s Joe McDonagh Cup game against Carlow knowing another two points would leave them with one foot in the final.
It has been a hectic run of fixtures for Darren Gleeson’s side with this being their third Championship outing in 14 days, but then all counties have experienced the same and will be keen to head into the week off with added points on the board.
Antrim and Carlow aren’t exactly strangers to each other with numerous meetings between the pair in recent years that forged something of an intense rivalry.
The last time the Barrowsiders were at Corrigan Park was back in 2018 during the inaugural Joe McDonagh Cup when Antrim prevailed in a bad-tempered affair with the hosts finishing with 14 players to Carlow’s 12.
They resumed hostilities during Antrim’s run to the 2020 title when it took a last-gasp goal from Domhnall Nugent to rescue a draw at Netwatch Cullen Park.
Despite it appearing the counties are on differing trajectories, absolutely nothing can or will be taken for granted when they lock horns once again on Saturday.
“We stole a draw that day,” Antrim selector Johnny Campbell recalled of that game on Halloween 2020.
“We know Carlow and Carlow know us, so hope we can give a disciplined display.
“It’s hectic with it being week-on-week. Momentum gives you energy and makes the training that bit easier.
FIRST of all, let’s state the obvious: there is little love lost between the hurlers of Antrim and Carlow.
Some men in saffron still carry the scars of the battle of Corrigan Park four years ago when Carlow finished the Joe McDonagh Cup game with just 12 players and Antrim with 14.
Richard Coady drove the butt of his hurl into the groin region of Neil McManus that required a half dozen stitches and O’Donovan Rossa’s Michael Armstrong suffered a horrible arm fracture that hastened his inter-county retirement.
They were two savage injuries - both crude examples of Carlow crossing the line.
Antrim’s Eoghan Campbell was dismissed in the 27th minute but much worse was to unfold for the visitors to west Belfast in May 2016 when Coady, Diarmuid Byrne and Jack Kavanagh were all red-carded in a stormy second half that required 15 minutes of injury-time.