Published Sunday, 23 March 2014
Antrim''s hurlers suffered a heavy defeat. (© Presseye)
Although there was nothing to play for in the game in Tullamore, Offaly certainly laid down a marker for the sides' next encounter with an impressive display.
The Saffrons were sluggish from the start and Offaly soon capitalised with goals from Stephen Quirke and Sean Cleary helping them to a 5-16 to 1-3 lead at half time.
To their credit Antrim made more of a fight of it in the second half with PJ O'Connell's hat-trick of goals providing perhaps the only real positive of the afternoon for manager Kevin Ryan.
However Offaly never looked like surrendering their colossal lead, with the Antrim defence proving all-too generous throughout.
In the end the hosts were secured victory by 5-27 to 4-9, a result sure to provide a wake-up call for the Saffrons' management ahead of next weekend's crucial relegation showdown.
Elsewhere on Sunday, Derry drew 3-17 to 4-14 with Kildare to secure third place in the final table and ensure their place in Division a for next season, while in Division 2B Down booked their place in the Division final with a 2-8 to 0-11 victory over Meath.
The result means the Ardsmen top the table and they will now meet second-placed Wicklow in the decider on 5 April.
It wasn't such good news for Armagh though, who will face Fingal in the Division 2B relegation play-off on 30 March after they fell to their fifth defeat of the campaign with a 1-19 to 1-11 defeat to Mayo.
In Division 3A, Donegal booked their place in the division final with a 2-15 to 1-15 win away to Louth, while Fermanagh ensured they finished the league campaign above provincial rivals Monaghan following a 2-15 to 1-11 victory over the Farneymen at Clones.
Finally on Sunday Tyrone ensured their Division 3B campqaign ended on a high with a 2-16 to 1-10 victory away to Sligo - a result which also saw the Red Hands claim a spot in the division final.
© UTV News