Murphy makes difference as Carlow finish with a flourish
Carlow 2-18 Offaly 0-18
Subs Denis Murphy and Jon Nolan made a big impact as Carlow finished strongly to record a rare senior hurling win over Offaly at Netwatch Cullen Park.
Offaly were favourites and looked comfortable in the opening exchanges.
Marty Kavanagh opened the scoring for the home side - led out by former captain Alan Corcoran on his 100th senior appearance for the county - but the visitors dominated in most areas and should have had more than just three points before Carlow found their feet.
The key moment of the half came on 21 minutes when Kavanagh passed to Chris Nolan, who found the net with a shot from the edge of the big square.
That helped Carlow to a 1-8 to 0-8 lead after 25 minutes as the visitors were left to rue a penalty claim which went unheeded and a succession of wides.
On the other hand Offaly goalkeeper Eoghan Cahill did well to save a point blank effort from Kavanagh on 30 minutes.
One minute into the second half, Kavanagh made no mistake when he picked up loose ball, ran forward and gave Cahill no chance this time.
Offaly hit back with scores from Kevin Connolly and a '65' from Cahill.
It was tight. The Offaly forwards may not have been in scoring mode but they were preventing Carlow from clearing clean ball out of their defence.
Kevin Connolly and Kavanagh were exchanging scores, but Carlow made a number of changes that strengthened their challenge.
Superior fitness and better marksmanship told as Murphy converted two frees and added another point from play, and teenage fellow sub Nolan slotted a score to help the home side pull away.
SCORERS - Carlow: M Kavanagh 1-6 (3fs), C Nolan 1-0, JM Nolan, D Murphy (1f), S Murphy 0-3 each, C Whelan, J Nolan, R Smithers 0-1 each. Offaly: K Connolly 0-8 (5fs), E Cahill 0-3 (2fs, 1 '65'), C Egan, S Kinsella 0-2 each, L Langton, O Kelly, K Dunne 0-1 each.
Carlow - B Tracey; A Corcoran, P Doyle, M Doyle; G Cody, D English, R Kelly; J Kavanagh, S Whelan; JM Nolan, J Murphy, S Murphy; M Kavanagh, R Smithers, C Nolan. Subs: E Nolan for Cody (h-t), R Coady for R Kelly (h/t), T Joyce for Smithers (h/t), J Doyle for C Nolan (46), C Whelan for J Murphy (49), D Murphy for JM Nolan (59), J Nolan for Kavanagh (59).
Offaly - E Cahill; S Burke, B Conneely, P Rigney; M Egan, P Camon, N Houlihan; S Kinsella (D Nally 56), K Dunne; C McGath, S Dolan, C Egan; L Langton, O Kelly, K Connolly. Subs: D O'Toole for Burke (31), A Treacy for Egan (46), E Callaghan for Langton (46), D Nally for Kinsella (56).
Ref - P Burke (Kilkenny)