Antrim overcame the early loss of talisman Neil McManus to injury to beat Kerry in a high-quality Allianz Hurling League Division 2A final at Bord na Mona O'Connor Park.
The win secures the Saffrons' place in Division 1 next season at the expense of a Kerry side who relied heavily on Shane Conway for scores. The Lixnaw sharpshooter hit 1-14, but still finished on the losing side as Conal Cunning (0-10), James McNaughton (1-5) and Conor McCann (1-1) fired Antrim to victory.
The Ulster side led by 1-12 to 1-11 at half-time with McCann and Mickey Boyle finding the net at either end. Scores from McNaughton (two), Niall McKenna and Cunning extended Antrim's advantage after the restart before Conway's 57th minute major reduced the deficit to two points.
Conway followed up with a free to leave a point in it, but Fintan O'Connor's men couldn't get back on level terms as the winners opened up a five-point gap once again. Conway pulled back two late points, but Antrim held on for a deserved win.
Meanwhile, goals in each half from Eoghan Sands and Pearse Og McCrickard helped Down to a 2-16 to 0-17 victory over Ulster rivals Derry in the Division 2B final at the Athletic Grounds, while Sligo beat neighbours Leitrim by 3-17 to 2-16 in the Division 3B decider at the Connacht Centre of Excellence in Bekan with Gerard O'Kelly-Lynch helping himself to 3-4.Tweet