A late comeback from Meath proved to be too little, too late as Carlow picked up two points with a 1-22 to 1-21 defeat of the Royal County.
Carlow started the game as firm favourites and lived up to the tag early on when they went 0-06 to 0-03 ahead with the help of free-taker Marty Kavanagh who scored a total of 1-14. Meath responded with three points from play including a long-range strike from centre-back Darragh Kelly.
Colm Bonnar’s side took control of the game for the remainder of the first-half with two points from half- forward Jack Kavanagh and a penalty from St. Mullins’ Marty Kavanagh to increase their lead to six points, 1-13 to 0-10, when the half-time whistle was blown by referee Rory McGann.
Carlow consolidated their lead early in the second-half with three Kavanagh frees and two points from play from Chris Nolan, who finished the game with a personal tally of three points, giving the home side a seemingly comfortable 1-19 to 0-15 lead midway through the second-half.
A spirited Meath side, who were looking to pick up their first points of this season’s competition, ate into Carlow’s lead by scoring three unanswered points to cut their opponent’s lead to four points, 1-21 to 0-20, with five minutes of normal time remaining. Kavanagh added both his and Carlow’s last point with yet another free to make it a five-point game.
Meath full-back Shane Brennan received a red card for his second yellow late on but another Meath point and a goal with the last play of the game from Damien Healy was not enough for Nick Weir’s side to snatch a positive result against their Leinster rivals.
The victory for Carlow boosts their chances of making the final next month in Croke Park. Three points from two games leaves little room for error and Colm Bonnar’s team will travel to Kerry in two weeks’ time knowing that it is a must win tie against an in-form home side.