Whelan and Nally too hot for Carlow to handle
Louth 1-14 Carlow 1-8
A second-half Carlow rally proved too little, too late after visitors Louth had established a commanding 1-8 to 0-2 interval lead in this opening round Leinster MFC tie at Netwatch Cullen Park.
The Wee County goal came from a penalty in the 10th minute, being converted by captain Sam Mulroy after he himself had been fouled in the small square. Carlow, by comparison, failed to score from a 21st-minute penalty for a foul on Jordan Morrissey as Conor Crowley's effort rolled harmlessly wide. There was no denying Louth's superiority.
The spine of their team was very strong, with midfielder Cathal Grogan outstanding, while talented corner-forwards Conor Whelan and Ross Nally scored a combined 0-9.
It took Carlow 39 minutes to score from a play, a point from half-time substitute Jake Elliott. A 44th-minute penalty to the home side, from Cathal Myers, was well saved by Louth goalie Paul McArdle but Myers slotted home the loose ball for what proved a consolation.
Scorers - Louth: R Nally 0-5 (1f, 1 '45), C Whelan 0-4 (3f), S Mulroy 1-0 pen, C Grogan 0-2, I Connor, C Callan, E Callaghan 0-1 each. Carlow: C Crowley 0-6 (5f), C Myers 1-0, J Elliott, J Murphy 0-1 each.
Louth - P McArdle; R Levins, C Kenny, I Connor; B Matthews, E Keenan, E McDaid; C Grogan, D Conlon; S Marry, C Callan, E Callaghan; C Whelan, S Mulroy, R Nally. Subs: L Crosbie for Conlon (44); S McCooey for Callan (52); M Carron for Mulroy (54); J Kelly for Marry (60).
Carlow - K Hickey; L Nolan, J Kehoe, C O'Doherty; N Cawley, J McCabe, R Doyle; C Ryan, T Bric; C Fitzpatrick, C Myers, J Byrne; C Crowley, C Redmond, J Morrissey. Subs: N Roche for Ryan (h-t); J Elliott for Byrne (h-t); J Murphy for Fitzpatrick (h-t); G Healy for Doyle (38).
Ref - D Moore (Laois)
Early goals put Westmeath in command
Westmeath 3-9 Longford 0-12
Westmeath's ability to score goals at crucial stages was the deciding factor as they defeated neighbours Longford by a flattering six-point margin in Mullingar.
The home team went a goal up after just 20 seconds when Dylan Carroll slapped the ball to the net at the end of Tom Molloy's cross. Conor Dillon quickly added a point and, when Molloy teed up wing back James Maxwell for a goal in the 12th minute, Westmeath were 2-1 to 0-0 ahead.
Longford came more into the game in the second quarter and they should have been closer than three points in arrears (2-2 to 0-5) at the interval, having spurned several scoreable frees, while Rory Hawkins missed a goal chance in the 27th minute.
The sides traded points in the opening minutes of the second half, but a fine goal from Daniel Reid in the 37th minute put Westmeath firmly in control.
They led by 3-8 to 0-8 midway through the half and a late Longford surge never looked like significantly cutting into the home team's lead.
Scorers - Westmeath: J Maxwell, D Reid, D Carroll 1-0 each, T Molloy (1f), D Hynes (1f) 0-3 each, C McCormack 0-2 (1f), C Dillon 0-1. Longford: J Kelly 0-4 (3f), R Hawkins (1f), C Reilly 0-2 each, T McGann, P Lynn, R Harkin, E Farrell 0-1 each.
Westmeath - DJ Fedronas; S Clinton, E Nally, B Treanor; P Maxwell, G Carr, J Maxwell; N Cully, A Loughlin Stones; C Dillon, D Reid, D Hynes; T Molloy, C McCormack, D Carroll. Subs: C Mannion for Nally (h-t), D Heavin for Carroll (43), C Gavin for Treanor (inj, 49), F Ayorinde for McCormack (58), R Forde for Loughlin Stones (60 + 1).
Longford - J Fox; N Farrelly, C McKeown, C Moran; R Harkin, PJ Masterson, M Cahill; E Farrell, R Healy; P Lynn, J Kelly, C Lee; R Hawkins, R O'Connell, T McGann. Subs: P Molloy for Hawkins (h-t), N Devlin for Moran (50), C Reilly for Lee (51).
REF - F Barry (Kildare)