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O'Brien the last-gasp hero

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Niall O'Brien, Westmeath

Niall O'Brien, Westmeath

SPORTSFILE

Niall O'Brien, Westmeath

Niall O'Brien's free from the half-way line in the dying seconds edged Westmeath to a hard-earned win in Mullingar yesterday.

Carlow looked the better team for most of a scrappy contest. The visitors led by 1-7 to 0-6 at the break, the goal coming from full-forward John Michael Nolan in the 27th minute.

Westmeath started the second half with three unanswered points via Derek McNicholas, Killian Murphy and Brendan Murtagh.

Carlow regained the initiative, though, and were five points to the good (1-13 to 0-11) with 10 minutes left.

However, Westmeath came good in a tense finale, with substitute Cormac Boyle rifling the ball past Kevin Kehoe to level the contest.

With time virtually up, O'Brien bisected the posts to eliminate Carlow from the competition.

Man of the Match: Aonghus Clarke (Westmeath)

SCORERS - Westmeath: N O'Brien 0-7 (7fs), C Boyle 1-0, D McNicholas, B Murtagh 0-2 each, K Murphy, J Clarke, A Devine 0-1 each. Carlow: M Kavanagh 0-8 (8fs), JM Nolan 1-1, J Kavanagh, C Doyle, E Byrne, Sean Murphy 0-1 each.

WESTMEATH: P Collins 7; S Power 7, T Doyle 7, A Price 7; G Greville 7, A Clarke 8, L Varley 5; K Murphy 6, J Clarke 6; A Devine 6, R Greville 6, N O'Brien 7; D Clinton 6, B Murtagh 6, D McNicholas 7. Subs: A Craig 5 for Varley 44, C Boyle 7 for J Clarke 45, E Corrigan 7 for Clinton 57, M Daly 6 for Murphy (61, inj).

CARLOW: K Kehoe 6; R Coady 6, S Kavanagh 7, A Corcoran 6; E Nolan n/r, D English 7, D Byrne 6; J Kavanagh 7, G Coady 6; Sean Murphy 7, M Brennan 7, E Byrne 7; M Kavanagh 8, JM Nolan 7, Seamus Murphy 5. Subs: J Rogers 6 for E Nolan (4, inj), C Doyle 7 for Seamus Murphy 54, E Coady n/r for Brennan (70 +2, inj).

REF - S Cleere (Kilkenny).

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