Kavanagh puts seal on Carlow comeback
Carlow 0-20 Westmeath 1-15
A storming second half saw Carlow wipe half-time arrears of four points to claim a two-point win over Westmeath at Netwatch Cullen Park yesterday, an outcome which means these counties must meet again next weekend to decide the NHL Division 2A title - and promotion.
In an evenly matched contest in which the sides were level on six occasions, Carlow finished the stronger and clinched victory with late points from full forward Seamus Murphy and a massive effort from midfield by Marty Kavanagh.
Westmeath were the sharper side in the opening half in which they were never headed once full-forward Brendan Murtagh had pointed them in front within 30 seconds.
Westmeath led 0-9 to 0-8 before, on 35 minutes, Brendan Murtagh swept home a fine close-range goal to put them four points clear at the interval.
The half-time shifting of Kavanagh to midfield and midfielder James Doyle to full-forward galvanised Carlow and three unanswered points from Doyle cut the arrears to a minimum.
Carlow hit the front for the first time when Doyle pointed splendidly from play on 58 minutes and the same player doubled that advantage with a free.
But points from Murtagh and Boyle tied matters.
A final push for victory saw those white flags from play by Murphy and Kavanagh as Carlow prevailed.
Scorers - Carlow: J Doyle 0-7 (5fs), M Kavanagh (1f), K McDonald, J Kavanagh 0-3 each, D Byrne, J O'Hara, Seán Murphy, Seamus Murphy 0-1 each. Westmeath: B Murtagh 1-4 (0-1f), L Varley 0-5 (4fs), C Boyle, E Price 0-2 each, R Greville, D Egerton 0-1 each.
Carlow - J Barron 7; G Coady 7, M Ryan 8, A Corcoran 7; D Byrne 7, D English 8, J O'Hara 7; J Doyle 9, J Kavanagh 8; K McDonald 7, M Kavanagh 8, Seán Murphy 5; J M Nolan 6, Seamus Murphy 6, S Whelan 6. Subs: R Smithers 7 for Whelan (40), R Kelly for Seán Murphy (65).
Westmeath - P Maloney 7; S Power 7, T Doyle 8, T Gallagher 7; A Craig 6, A Clarke 8, A McGrath7; C Boyle 8, G Greville 7; A Devine 5, L Varley 7, R Greville 6; D McNicholas 5, B Murtagh 8, E Price 7. Sub: D Egerton for Devine (64).
Ref - J Ryan (Tipperary).