MARTY Kavanagh showed his class as Carlow crushed 14-man Down at Dr Cullen Park yesterday.
Kevin Ryan's side hurled with far greater assurance than their opponents, who will rue 17 wides.
A fine Carlow goal on 23 minutes from Craig Doyle was neutralised three minutes later by a great strike from Down's Daniel Toner.
Carlow led 1-5 to 1-2 at that stage and then shot four unanswered points from Andrew Gaule, Marty Kavanagh (two pointed frees) and a superb score from Doyle.
Carlow remained in control after the break as a long-range goal from a free by Shane Kavanagh killed off the Down challenge (2-11 to 1-6).
A fine Marty Kavanagh goal was just reward for a fine personal performance -- he hit 1-6 -- and Down's misery was complete when Paul Smyth was sent off for a second yellow late on.
Man of the Match: Marty Kavanagh (Carlow)
Scorers -- Carlow: M Kavanagh 1-6 (4f), C Doyle 1-3, S Kavanagh 1-1 (1f), A Gaule, J Kane, D Roberts 0-2 each, P Kehoe 0-1f. Down: P Braniff 0-4f, D Toner 1-1, D Hughes 0-1.
Carlow -- F Foley 7; A Corcoran 7, E Nolan 7, D Shaw 7; J Corcoran 7, S Kavanagh 8, J Rogers 7; R Coady 7, J Kavanagh 8; A Gaule 7, J Kane 7, P Kehoe 7; M Kavanagh 9, C Doyle 8, D Roberts 7. Subs: R Smithers 7 for Gaule (55), E Coady 7 for Rogers (58), A McDonald for M Kavanagh (61), K McCabe for Roberts (65).
Down -- D Kearns 7; M Hughes 6, C Teague 6, P Smyth 6; M Cunningham 6, C Woods 7, M Ennis 7; L Morgan 6, E Clarke 7; D Hughes 6, K McGarry 6, C Baillie 6; D Toner 7, P Braniff 7, A Savage 6. Subs: B Toner 6 for Cunningham (46), P Keith 6 for Morgan (48), C Mageean 6 for D Hughes (55), P Sheehan for D Toner (66), A O'Prey for M Hughes (68).
REF -- S Cleere (Kilkenny).