WATERFORD IT emerged deserving five-point winners of this keenly contested clash in Carlow, with a well-struck 48th minute goal from Waterford right corner-forward Martin O'Neill proving vital.
Both defences were on top throughout an opening half which produced only nine points, four from play, with Waterford IT establishing a 0-6 to 0-3 interval lead backed by the wind.
IT Carlow levelled in the 41st minute as a free from centre-back Mark Ellis was touched to the net by corner-forward Paul Buggy to leave the score at 1-5 to 0-8. Waterford IT finished the stronger, though, with O'Neill's superb strike past former Kilkenny All-Ireland goalie PJ Ryan being supplemented by fine points from play by Gavin O'Brien, Jake Dillon and O'Neill himself.
Scorers – WIT: M O'Neill 1-2, E Murphy 0-4 (3f), L Harney, S Roche, M Sheedy, J Dillon, G O'Brien 0-1 each. Carlow IT: S Maher 0-5(4f), P Buggy 1-0, M Ellis 0-1.
WIT – Stephen O'Keefe; Stephen O'Keefe, L Lawlor, N Connors; C Haugh, W Hutchinson, J Dowling; L Harney, S Roche; H Kehoe, M Sheedy, E Murphy; M O'Neill, J Dillon, G O'Brien. Subs: P Mahoney for Murphy (25); M Power for Roche (55); M Gaffney for O'Neill (60).
IT Carlow – P J Ryan; D Buckley, D Kenny, B Harding; C Fogarty, M Ellis, S Gardiner; O Walsh, P Hally; T Carroll, J Carroll, S Maher; M Sexton, C Kenny, P Buggy. Subs: I Byrne for Sexton (21); C English for Buggy (50); P Walsh for J Carroll (54).
Ref – F Horgan (Tipperary)