Leinster Senior Hurling Championship
Carlow V Antrim
Netwatch Cullen Park
Sunday 24th May
Referee: Cathal McAllister (Cork)
Despite two losses Carlow can clinch a place in the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship. The manner of the losses to Laois and Westmeath, both tight affairs in the end means Carlow still have high hopes. For Carlow to go through they must beat Antrim and hope Westmeath beat Laois, that would leave three teams on 2 points. It would then revert to points difference to decide who goes through, who stays in the Leinster championship for 2016 and who goes down to the Christy Ring. As it stands Antrim have -16, Laois have +2 and Carlow have -5.
Antrim will have to go it without Neil McManus this Sunday, one of their best players over the last few years, McManus suffered medial knee ligament damage during the Westmeath match. He is a big loss for Antrim. Antrim will also be without Aaron Graffin , PJ O’Connell, Jackson McGreevey and Barry McFall .
For Antrim defeat would send them down to the Christy Ring for 2016 and they will be up for this game on Sunday. Antrim ended their league campaign in free fall, after five losses in Division 1B they had to play Laois again in the relegation Play-off which they lost and would go on to lose to Kerry to swap places with them in Division 2A. Antrim’s only competitive win in 2015 came in the first round of the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship against Laois, if they can grab another on Sunday they can turn their season around.
Martin Kavanagh has 1-13 from the first two Leinster Senior Hurling Championship games to add to his 2-28 in the league campaign and if he can remain consistent Carlow can get a significant win on Sunday. Alan Corcoran has done well all year in the full back line and despite Antrim’s loss to Westmeath they scored 5-17 on their way to beating Laois so if he can perform well again Carlow have a great chance.