Carlow will not be playing Division 3 football in 2022 following their defeat to Louth at Netwatch Cullen Park on Saturday evening in the Allianz National Football League Division 4 semi-final.
Victory over their Leinster rivals would have seen Niall Carew’s side make a return to the third tier of gaelic football. However, they were thoroughly outclassed throughout the course of the encounter.
Colm Hulton kept Carlow in the game with three fine scores from play in the first ten minutes. Despite Hulton’s best efforts, it was clear that the Carlow back-line were going to struggle to contain Louth’s clinical forwards. Target man Conor Grimes, a handful throughout, opened Louth’s account before further points from Ciarán Downey and Sam Mulroy.
A ’45 from Mulroy and a well taken score from midfielder Bevan Duffy left two between the sides as referee Barry Tierney signalled for the first half water break, 0-03 – 0-05.
It was the second quarter of the game that ultimately decided the tie as Louth took advantage of a combination of ruthless forward play and loose marking from the Carlow defence.
Two Ciarán Keenan points from play as well as scores from St. Mochtas’ Ciarán Byrne and Liam Jackson pushed Mickey Hate’s side into a five-point lead. A Conor Grimes goal cut Carlow further adrift despite points from Paul Broderick and Jordan Morrissey. Two more points from Byrne and a finely taken score by wing-back Eoghan Callaghan left five between the sides at half time, 0-07 – 1-12.
It was a case of keeping Carlow at bay in the second half for the Wee County. Broderick and Jamie Clarke led the charge for the home side, but they never seemed capable of maintaining a period of sustained dominance unlike their opponent’s who found it all too easy at times.
Ciarán Downey, Liam Jackson and two Mulroy frees moved Louth nine ahead just after the midway point of the second half, 0-12 – 1-18. Substitute Chris Blake got a point back for a Carlow side who never gave up. However, it was far too comfortable for the visitors as Mulroy (2), Downey and Grimes made it 0-14 – 1-22.
Jamie Clarke dispatched of a penalty late in the game, but it was nothing more than a consolation as Mulroy and Broderick exchanged late frees. Louth promote to Division 3 following today’s victory on a scoreline of 1-15 – 1-23. For Carlow, they will be playing Division 4 football next year.