Carlow 2-23 Laois 1-18
Martin Kavanagh helped himself to 1-10 as Carlow signed off on a successful 2018 with an eight-point win over Laois at O'Moore Park.
Carlow won the Division Two league title and the inaugural Joe MacDonagh Cup in 2018 and they ended the year in winning style too as they got the better of their neighbours in this Walsh Cup encounter.
Laois had beaten Offaly in the opening round last Sunday to give Kilkenny legend Eddie Brennan a dream start in his first senior intercounty managerial role and they got off to flyer here when Stephen Maher hit the back of the net after less than a minute.
Kavanagh soon found his stride for the visitors, however, and he hit back with three points in the next six minutes to get Carlow up and running.
Jack Kelly and Martin Kavanagh traded points to have leave the sides level after eight minutes and PJ Scully got the first of his tally moments later to put Laois back into the lead.
Sub Ross Smithers responded for Carlow but Maher hit back for Laois and the home side hit a purple patch to go five clear – Mark Kavanagh and Aaron Dunphy were particularly prominent in this spell and Laois were 1-9 to 0-7 ahead by the 20-minute mark.
Carlow stayed in touch though and a mistake in defence allowed Kavanagh in for their first goal in the 27th minute. PJ Scully replied with a point for Laois but Ciarán Whelan pounced for Carlow's second goal in the 31st minute. Again Scully responded with a free and then a long-distance effort from Maher and one from Dwane Palmer sent Laois in at the break leading by 1-13 to 2-9.
Carlow completely took over in the second half and with David English, Kavanagh, Jack Murphy all on target and they ran out comfortable winners in the end.
CARLOW: B Treacey; G Bennett, K McDonald, M Doyle; E Nolan, D English (0-2, one free), R Coady; J Kavanagh (0-1), D Byrne; S Whelan (0-2), J Nolan (0-1), J Murphy (0-2); M Kavanagh (1-10, five frees), T Joyce, C Whelan (1-1).
Subs: R Smithers (0-2) for D Byrne (15 mins), D Murphy (0-1) for T Joyce (54), C Nolan (0-1) for J Murphy (60).
LAOIS: E Fleming; D Hartnett, M Whelan, L Bergin; J Kelly (0-1), E Killeen, R Mullaney; C Stapleton, PJ Scully (0-6, three frees); A Dunphy (0-4), E Lyons, S Maher (1-2); M Kavanagh (0-2), W Dunphy, S Bergin.
Subs: D Palmer (0-1) for W Dunphy (11 mins), C Phelan for L Bergin (25), P Purcell (0-2) for Stapleton (49), N Foyle for Kavanagh (48 ), P Keating for S Bergin (67).