Carlow earned themselves a deserved draw at TEG Cusack Park yesterday thanks to a last gasp goal from league debutant Shane O’Neill.
Turlough O’Brien’s men got off to the worst possible start when John Heslin goaled inside twenty seconds, but a Paul Broderick penalty had Carlow right back in contention and they led by a point at the break in a half where Craig Kearney made a fantastic save from James Dolan.
Westmeath at one stage had Heslin, Kieran Martin and Denis Glennon all playing close to goal but a disciplined and determined Carlow defence saw them nullified for the lions share of the game.
The quality of the game improved significantly in the last quarter with Broderick, Brendan Murphy and Alan Kelly kicked some nice scores, although Alan Gaughan also knocked over two great points at the far end.
Controversy then struck in added time when James Dolan goaled for Westmeath when it appeared he had been in the square first.
That put Westmeath into a three point lead but their was still time for some late drama.
A well worked move involving Daniel St Ledger, Conor Lawlor, Brendan Murphy and Ciaran Moran saw Shane O’Neill gather in front of goal and his finish was sublime as the ball hit the top left corner.
And so it finished a draw, which Carlow truly deserved and in truth they possibly deserved to win however you would take a draw all day every day at Mullingar.
Carlow: Craig Kearney; Chris Crowley, Conor Lawlor, Kieran Nolan; Gary Kelly, Shane Redmond, Sean Murphy; Brendan Murphy (0-1), Eoghan Ruth(0-1); Alan Kelly (0-1), Darragh Foley (0-2,1f), John Murphy; Darragh O’Brien, Paul Broderick (1-5, 1-0 pen,4f), Daniel St Ledger.
Subs:Danny Moran for Nolan, Ciaran Moran for J Murphy, Shane O’Neill (1-0) for O’Brien.
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