Keating's eye for goal gives Carlow a shot at Dublin


CARLOW footballers scored a very rare but fully deserved win over visitors, Offaly, to advance to a home meeting with All Ireland champions, Dublin on Sunday next, in this entertaining O'Byrne Cup tie at the Carlow Hurling Club grounds yesterday.

In a keenly contested match watched by approximately 500 people, Carlow held a definite edge in fitness over their midland opponents. And, in corner forward Anthony Keating they had a goal poacher supreme who grabbed both his side's goals and also scored two points.

Carlow led 1-4 to 1-2 at halftime, the Carlow goal coming in the 20th minute when Keating dived full length to divert a rasping Colm Hayden shot, which was going wide, into the Offaly net. Just on half time sloppy Carlow defensive play from a short free set up an Offaly penalty which was thumped to the Carl ow net by David Reynolds.

Offaly's expected second half domination never materialised as they made precious little use of the very strong wind.

Instead, Carlow employed an intelligent short passing game and with eight players from Leinster Club champions, Eire Og on board, they remained the superior side.

Carlow made certain of victory in the 40th minute when Keating availed of a shot from midfielder Noel Doyle, which was drifting wide, to swivel and shoot a fine goal.

Offaly could only manage a single point from play over the hour a fine 39th minute point from 45 metres by Willie Reynolds.

Westmeath made a marvellous start to this O'Byrne Cup game against Longford at Ballinagore yesterday when they scored three goals in the opening 17 minutes. Rory O'Connell's powerful drive in the 10th minute started the goal spree and Ger Heavin completed the good work with twos further goals.

Ciaran Fox and the experienced Dessie Barry rallied Longford and spirited play from their colleagues enabled them to reduce Westmeath's lead to 3-4 to 0-8 at half time.

Longford had the strong breeze assisting them in the first half and an easy Westmeath win seemed imminent Such was not the case and within five minutes of resumption, Dessie Barry scored 1-1 to reduce Westmeath's lead to" one point.

At this stage the game was very competitive and with five minutes remaining, Longford trailed by just three points, 3-8 to 1-11.

But then Longford's Nicholas Farrell and Westmeath's Eddie Casey were sent off and two late Westmeath points from Larry Giles and Rory O'Connell wrapped up victory for the home side.