A brace of goals from Wing Back James Dolan proved to be the difference between Carlow and Westmeath in Wednesday evening’s O’Byrne Cup Clash at Netwatch Cullen Park.
A point inside 20 seconds from Darragh O’Brien was a sign of things to come as the game ebbed and flowed throughout with some moments of real quality on display from both sides.
The first of Dolan’s goals arrived early in the first half as he got on the end of a sweeping move after a flurry of passes.
Carlow stayed in touch though and could of had a goal of their own when a quick free from Alan Kelly found Darragh Foley who cut inside his marker only to see his shot go flying over off the crossbar.
Kelly, Foley, Paul Broderick and Eoghan Ruth all found the target for the hosts in a half where debutant Sean Murphy drove forward at will.
However Brendan Murphy was dismissed just before the break for a second bookable offence, as scores from Ger Egan, Thomas McDaniel and Luke Loughlin gave the Maroon Men a 1-8 to 0-9 half time lead.
Westmeath knocked over the first two points of the second half but back came Carlow and after some good work from Murtough Ware and Darragh O’Brien, Paul Broderick slipped a low shot past Darren Quinn and all of a sudden it was 1-11 to 1-10.
The Highlight of the second half was the long range kicking of Darragh Foley and the first of his 47 metre efforts from play gave Carlow the lead for the first time with Ruth and Kelly also landing scores.
But an error late on allowed Westmeath to strike a hammer blow with James Dolan palming into an empty net after Craig Kearney had attempted to halt the three man weave which led to it.
The second of Foley’s huge efforts brought the game back to within one score but Westmeath held out for victory in what was a very enjoyable game.
Carlow now face Louth in Dowdallshill at 2pm on Saturday and a victory there may well be enough to see them advance from the group.
I.T Carlow were also in action last night and suffered a 35 point defeat at the hands of Kildare.
Carlow: Craig Kearney (Palatine); Chris Crowley (Palatine), Gary Kelly (MLR), Kieran Nolan (Fighting Cocks); Hughie Gahan (Old Leighlin), John Murphy (Grange), Sean Murphy (Fenagh); Brendan Murphy (Rathvilly), Eoghan Ruth (Eire Og) (0-2); Alan Kelly (Rathvilly) (0-2), Darragh Foley (Kilbride) (0-5,3f), Shane O’Neill (Palatine); Darragh O’Brien (Eire Og) (0-1), Paul Broderick (Tinryland) (1-5,4f), Graham Power (O’Hanrahans).
Subs: Mark Rennick (Palatine) for S Murphy, Murtough Ware (Eire Og) for O’Neill, Danny Moran (Tinryland) for J Murphy, Shane Clarke (St Andrews) for Power, Cillian McCabe (Naomh Eoin) for O’Brien, Jamie Clarke (St Andrews) for Crowley, Darren Lunney (Ballinabranna) for Kelly.
It was also KCLR’s Inaugural Online Commentary Broadcast and you can listen back to the Full Commentary By Clicking The Link Below