Doyle fires Westmeath past determined Carlow
Westmeath 3-10 Carlow 1-14
Westmeath minor hurlers had to dig deep to see off the strong challenge of Carlow in this Leinster MHC tie at Netwatch Cullen Park on Saturday, the Lake County coming from early second-half arrears of seven points to eventually prevail by two.
Played in a downpour, the sides were level four times during the opening half - Carlow's early 0-4 to 0-1 lead being wiped out by a 13th-minute goal from Westmeath full-forward Niall Mitchell.
The outstanding accuracy of Carlow centre-back Kevin McDonald was the major reason why Carlow went in at half-time 0-11 to 1-4 in front and things looked good for the home county when left half-forward Andrew Kane scooped the ball to the Westmeath net within 20 seconds of the restart.
But the Westmeath management pulled a game-changer in moving Niall Mitchell to the midfield area for the second half where the Clonkill clubman broke Carlow's superiority.
A Doody goal on 42 minutes had Westmeath within a point of the home side (1-12 to 2-8) before the same player equalised with a point from play. And when Carlow conceded a 46th-minute penalty, Ciaran Doyle found the corner of the net. After that the midland county was in control as Carlow exited the championship.
Scorers - Westmeath: K Doyle 0-7 (6f), P Doody 1-2, C Doyle 1-1 (1-0 pen, 1f), N Mitchell 1-0. Carlow: K McDonald 0-8 (6f, 2 '65s), C Nolan 0-3 (2f), A Kane 1-0, D Grennan, S Brennan, L Galway 0-1 each.
Westmeath - S Maher; D Qamar, K Regan, S Lancaster; J Bermingham, P Scally, D Egerton; F Dowd, J O'Brien; J Rabbite, C Doyle, K Doyle; J Goonelry, N Mitchell, P Doody. Sub: J McCarthy for Gonnery (57).
Carlow - T Dowling; R McEvoy, P Shanahan, A Casey; J Murphy, K McDonald, G Lawlor; O Roberts, D Grennan; C Nolan, S Brennan, A Kane; L Galway, E Redmond, A Redmond.
Ref - J Kennedy (Kilkenny)