Eire Og crew boost Carlow
CARLOW won their first Leinster senior football championship game in eight seasons when they trounced Wexford by 15 points at Dr Cullen Park, Carlow, yesterday.
A home victory looked highly unlikely in the opening 15 minutes. Wexford had seven championship debutants in their ranks and one of them, Leigh O'Brien, made his presence felt, showing deadly accuracy from frees as Wexford led 0-4 to 0-0 after nine minutes.
Things went cruelly wrong for Wexford midway through the half when they lost two key players through injury in the space of a minute - right full, back Padraig O'Gorman and influential midfielder Mick Dillon.
Carlow subsequently gained a significant foothold in midfield where Sean Kavanagh was outstanding.
Carlow fielded eight players from Eire Og, the All Ireland club finalists, and finished with nine from the county and provincial champions. Indeed, Eire Og players contributed a total of 4-14 of their side's total.
This match was decided in a two minute period before halftime when first Anthony Keating - their top scorer with 1-8 - struck for a close range goal and his Eire Og colleague Willie Quinlan followed up with a superb second goal within a minute, thrashing the ball high, into the Wexford net from an acute angle, Carlow thus led 2-5 to 0-5 at the interval.
An outstanding Carlow move involving Sean Kavanagh, Anthony Keating and Willie, Quinlan killed off Wexford's challenge 90 seconds after the change of ends, Quinlan crashing home a wonderful goal.
Wexford never really recovered from the concession of those three goals, even though their nippy corner forward John Hegarty managed a goal midway through the half as the Carlow defence was caught napping for the only time in the 70 minutes.
Bobby Miller, the Carlow coach, copper fastened this Carlow victory by introducing the Hayden brothers, Colm and Joe, during the second half. Colm scored 1-1 while Joe scored 0-2, pointing a penalty.