Kevin O’Brien reports from O’Moore Park, Portlaoise
IT’S BEEN A week to remember for Carlow GAA as the county’s hurlers secured promotion to Division 1B with a win over Westmeath on Saturday.
Their footballers clinched promotion from the Division 4 for the first time in 33 years last weekend, while Carlow native Tom Ryan was appointed as the GAA’s new director general earlier today.
And Carlow completely dominated Westmeath in the Division 2A final this afternoon, running out comfortable seven-point winners.
The move up to the second tier of the hurling league is another sign of steady progress for Carlow under manager Colm Bonnar, following their Christy Ring Cup success last summer.
Martin Kavanagh scored 1-9 for the victors, 1-8 of it from placed balls, while James Doyle bagged 1-1 in an impressive opening 35 minutes.
Westmeath ran out 0-19 to 0-15 winners when these sides met in the league opener on 28 January, but this was close to a no-show by Michael Ryan’s side who didn’t play anywhere near their potential.
They only managed 14 scores with just 1-3 of that coming from play on a forgettable afternoon.
Carlow led by just two points after the opening 15 minutes, but in the second quarter they ran riot.
Doyle slammed in a fine goal, Edward Byrne slotted over a couple of beauties from distance and Kavanagh did the business from frees to leave them 1-11 to 0-6 ahead with half-time approaching.
Darragh Clinton did hit the net for Westmeath to reduce the deficit, but Carlow reeled off five points either side of half-time to remain in control.
Kavanagh buried a 50th-minute penalty after Chris Nolan was fouled and five minutes later Westmeath’s faith was sealed when they lost Gary Greville to a second yellow card after a hefty challenge.
Carlow were 12 points up at that stage, but the Lake County continued to battle with Allan Devine taking his personal tally to five points. Derek McNicholas slotted home a 65th-minute penalty for Westmeath late on to put some respectability on the scoreboard.
Scorers for Carlow: Martin Kavanagh 1-9 (0-8f, 1-0 pen), James Doyle 1-1, Edward Byrne 0-3, Diarmuid Byrne 0-2, Chris Nolan 0-2, David English 0-2 (0-2f).
Scorers for Westmeath: Allan Devine 0-5 (0-5f), Eoin Price 0-3, Darragh Clinton 1-0, Niall O’Brien 0-1 (0-1f), Killian Doyle 0-1 (0-1f).
1. Brian Tracey (Naomh Eoin)
3. Paul Doyle (St Mullin’s)
2. Alan Corcoran (Erin’s Own)
4. Michael Doyle (Mount Leinster Rangers)
5. Eoin Nolan (Naomh Eoin)
6. David English (Ballinkillen)
7. Richard Boady (Mount Leinster Rangers)
8. Jack Kavanagh (St Mullin’s)
9. Diarmuid Byrne (Mount Leinster Rangers)
10. Seamus Murphy (St Mullin’s)
11. Paul Coady (Mount Leinster Rangers)
14. Edward Byrne (Mount Leinster Rangers)
13. Martin Kavanagh (St Mullin’s)
15. Chris Nolan (Mount Leinster Rangers)
12. James Doyle (St Mullin’s)
22. Jack Murphy (Mount Leinster Rangers) for Jack Kavanagh (60)
18. Conor Foley (Naomh Eoin) for Paul Coady (61)
23. Kevin McDonald (Mount Leinster Rangers) for Nolan (64)
20. Denis Murphy (Mount Leinster Rangers) for Murphy (69)
21. Dion Wall (Ballinkillen) for Eoin Nolan (71)
1. Paddy Carroll (St Brigid’s)
4. Gary Greville (Raharney)
3. Tommy Doyle (Lough Lene Gaels)
2. Shane Power (Clonkill)
5. Aaron Craig (St Oliver Plunkett’s)
6. Paul Greville (Raharney)
7. Derek McNicholas (Lough Lene Gaels)
11. Robbie Greville (Raharney)
9. Eoin Price (Clonkill)
10. John Gilligan (Fr Dalton’s)
13. Niall O’Brien (Castletown Geoghegan)
14. Niall Mitchell (Clonkill)
8. Cormac Boyle (Raharney)
15. Darragh Clinton (Delvin)
12. Allan Devine (Castlepollard)
22. Liam Varley (Castletown Geoghegan) for Craig (23)
17. Killian Doyle (Raharney) for Gilligan (34)
20. Alan Cox (Delvin) for Devine (69)
Referee: Johnny Ryan (Tipperary)
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