Walsh Cup: Carlow secure a rare win over Offaly
Marty Kavanagh inspires his side to victory in an absorbing Cullen Park encounter
Marty Kavanagh guided Carlow to Walsh Cup victory over Offaly. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
Carlow 2-18 Offaly 0-18
Carlow registered a rare senior hurling intercounty victory over Offaly at Netwatch Cullen Park on Sunday as they outfought and outmanaged their visitors in an absorbing encounter.
It was tight all through the first-half with Offaly shooting a series of wides against a sticky Carlow defence.
The key moment of the half came on 21 minutes when Marty Kavanagh fought hard to win possession on the right 25-metres out. Spotting the well-placed Chris Nolan on the other side his pass was accurate and the ball receiver made no mistake when finding the net from close range.
Kevin Connolly was the main scoring threat for Offaly landing four points from play and frees in the half. Offaly could have been awarded a penalty when Connolly was fouled on the edge of the big square but he had to be content with a simple free instead.
The home side wore down their visitors in the second half. The second Carlow goal arrived immediately after play had been resumed as Kavanagh picked up a loose ball, made ground and easily goaled.
The visitors fought back but could never reel in the eventual winners who got better and better as the game unfolded.
Two substitutes, Denis Murphy and Jon Nolan, both got on the scoresheet in the final moments as Carlow hinted they may have strength in depth as the league approaches.
Offaly: E Cahill (0-3, three 65s); S Burke, B Conneely, P Rigney; M Egan, P Camon, N Houlihan; S Kinsella (0-2), K Dunne (0-1); C McGath, S Dolan, C Egan (0-2); L Langton (0-1), O Kelly (0-1), K Connolly (0-8, five frees). Subs: D O’Toole for Burke (31 mins), A Treacy for Egan (46), D Nally for Kinsella (56), E Callaghan for Langton (46).
Carlow: B Tracey; A Corcoran, P Doyle, M Doyle; G Cody, D English, R Kelly; J Kavanagh, S Whelan; JM Nolan (0-3), J Murphy, S Murphy (0-3); M Kavanagh (1-6, three frees), R Smithers (0-1), C Nolan (1-0). Subs: E Nolan for Cody (HT), R Coady for Kelly (HT), D Murphy (0-3) for JM Nolan (59), C Whelan (0-1) for J Murphy (49), J Nolan (0-1) for M Kavanagh (59), T Joyce for R Smithers (HT), J Doyle for C Nolan (46).
Referee: P Burke (Kilkenny).