Kavanagh fires Carlow to 1B promotion
Carlow 2-19 Westmeath 2-12
Carlow will compete in Division 1B of the National Hurling League next year following a decisive win by an unflattering seven-point margin over Westmeath in Portlaoise on Saturday.
Carlow, who had lost at home by four points to the same opponents in the first round robin match in Division 2A in January, were by far the better team in the first half and a great solo goal by James Doyle in the 19th minute put them 1-8 to 0-4 ahead.
Both Martin Kavanagh (pictured) and David English were on form from frees, with Michael Ryan's troops paying for their indiscipline. Darragh Clinton's well-taken goal in the 31st minute kept Westmeath in touch, but Colm Bonnar's side were full value for their interval lead of 1-14 to 1-6.
Another brace of frees by Kavanagh extended Carlow's lead within four minutes of the resumption of play. A converted penalty by Kavanagh in the 50th minute - after Chris Nolan had been fouled - put the Barrowsiders ahead by 12 points (2-17 to 1-8).
The Lake County were reduced to 14 men when Gary Greville picked up a second yellow card. A successful late penalty by Derek McNicholas, after a foul on Clinton, put a better complexion on the scoreboard for Westmeath, but they never looked like making a real contest of the game at any stage of the second half.
Indeed, they can thank goalkeeper Paddy Carroll for a couple of splendid saves throughout the course of the game.
Scorers - Carlow: M Kavanagh 1-9 (1-0pen, 8fs), J Doyle 1-1, E Byrne 0-3, D English (2fs), D Byrne, C Nolan 0-2 each.
Westmeath: A Devine 0-6 (5fs, 1'65'), D McNicholas (pen), D Clinton 1-0 each, E Price 0-3, R Greville, K Doyle (f), C Doyle 0-1 each.
Carlow - B Tracey 6; A Corcoran 6, P Doyle 6, M Doyle 7; E Nolan 6, D English 8, R Coady 6; J Kavanagh 6, D Byrne 7; S Murphy 6, P Coady 6, J Doyle 7; M Kavanagh 8, E Byrne 7, C Nolan 7. Subs: J Murphy 6 for J Kavanagh (61), C Foley 6 for P Coady (62), K McDonald for C Nolan (65), D Murphy for S Murphy (70), D Wall for E Nolan (70 + 1).
Westmeath - P Carroll 8; S Power 6, T Doyle 6, G Greville 5; A Craig 5, P Greville 6, D McNicholas 7; E Price 7, C Boyle 6; J Gilligan 5, R Greville 6, A Devine 6; N O'Brien 5, N Mitchell 6, D Clinton 6. Subs: L Varley 7 for Craig (23), K Doyle 6 for Gilligan (34), S Clavin 6 for Boyle (44), C Doyle 6 for O'Brien (56), A Cox for Devine (68).
Ref - J Ryan (Tipperary).