A stunning comeback from Kerry saw then overhaul a 10 point deficit to claim their third win of the Joe McDonagh Cup campaign and hand Antrim their third loss.

Antrim welcomed Kerry to Cushendall knowing that they weren’t in control of their own fate, and that only a win on their home turf combined with a victory for Westmeath over Carlow would see them secure a place in the final .

But the Saffrons took to the field with resolute determination that they would keep up their end of the bargain, and in the opening twenty minutes ripped the Kingdom apart with an enthusiasm that only the promise of a place at Croke Park can inspire.

After just 8 minutes Antrim found the back of the net, a disastrous clearance from Stephen Murphy falling straight into the hands of Conor McCann who rattled the post, before Ciaran Clarke picked up the rebound to establish a 1-03 to 0-01 lead.

With their tails up the Glensmen forged ahead, Neil McManus spearheading the attack while Kerry were forced to live off scraps at the other end.

At the thirty minute mark Antrim had a commanding seven point lead, but Fintan O'Connor's chargers got their claws into the game, Saffron indiscipline allowed Mickey Boyle to plough down the pitch virtually unchallenged to fire home a goal and make it a one point game at the break.

Both sides kept the scoreboard ticking, but Jack Goulding put Kerry ahead for the first time in the game when he slotted home past the back post to claim their second goal.

Once the Kingdom got themselves in front they never looked like relinquishing their advantage, the hosts seemed rattled by their capitulation on the scoreboard and struggled to deal with a more intelligent style of play from their opponents in the second half.

Despite the Saffs' best efforts they couldn’t find their way back into the game, and the dogged visitors saw it out to chalk up a 2-19 to 1-20 win.

Antrim will once again be left to rue their missed opportunities, but it might be easier to swallow knowing that a Carlow victory had already sealed their fate.

Antrim: R Elliott, A Graffin, J Dillon, C McKinley (capt.), P Burke, S McCrory, D Kearney, K Molloy, E Campbell, D McKinley (0-01), N McManus (0-11f) (0-06), N Elliott, C Johnston (0-01), C McCann (0-01), C Clarke (1-00)

Subs: J McNaughton for N Elliott (35), E McCloskey for D McKinley (44), R McCambridge for P Burke (62)

Kerry: S Murphy, J Buckley, B Murphy, J O’Connor, S Weir, M Boyle (1-01), D Collins, B O’Leary (0-02) , D Griffin (0-01), P Boyle (capt.) (0-02) S Nolan, T Murnane, J Goulding (1-01), B Barrett (0-01), S Conway (0-11)

Subs: T O'Connor for B Barrett (19), J Conway for J Goulding (59), J Diggins for P Boyle (73) E Murphy for D Griffin (74)