Westmeath take advantage of Carlow gifts


Leinster SHC First round - Westmeath 4-10 Carlow 1-14:THREE GOALS of the gift variety undermined Carlow hopes of victory at Dr Cullen Park yesterday.

There was nothing to choose between the sides for the opening 22 minutes as Westmeath led 0-3 to 0-1, playing with the aid of the blustery wind.

Then Carlow goalkeeper Kevin Kehoe allowed a tame 35-metre shot from Derek McNicholas creep into his net. McNicholas was on the mark again on 35 minutes with an opportunistic strike and when Mitchell breached the home defence with the final action of the first half from a 110-metre free, Westmeath enjoyed a 3-5 to 0-4 interval lead.

Carlow changed goalkeepers at half-time with Nicky Roberts deputising and a long-range goal from wing back Richard Coady on the hour provided the home support with renewed hope. That goal trimmed the Westmeath advantage to a mere three points (3-8 to 1-11.)

Almost immediately Westmeath swept upfield and the home goalkeeper’s clearance was blocked by Brian Smyth who crashed the ball to the net from close range to kill off the home revival.

Carlow free-taker Ruairí Dunbar scored 0-9 of his side’s total in a forward line which badly misfired while Brendan Murtagh was deadly accurate from frees for the visitors, scoring 0-7.

Carlow’s Jack Kavanagh received a straight red card late on – the midfielder had been yellow carded in the opening half.

WESTMEATH: C Scally; C Flanagan, D McCormack, A McGrath; E Price, A Mitchell (1-0, free); P Gilsenan; N Flanagan, B Smyth (1-2); C Curley, P Greville, J Shaw (0-1); D Carthy, B Murtagh (0-7, all frees), A Devine. Subs: D McNicholas (2-0) for Devine (18 mins), N Dowdall for Carthy (31 mins), J Gilligan for Gilsenan (48 mins), P Dowdall for Flanagan (50 mins), A Craig for Curley (70 mins).

CARLOW: K Kehoe; A Corcoran, S Kavanagh, D Shaw; E Coady, E Nolan (0-3), R Coady (1-0); J Kavanagh, J Rogers; E Byrne (0-1), C Doyle, M Brennan; A Gaule, R Dunbar (0-9, six frees, one 65), P Kehoe. Subs: N Roberts for K Kehoe, D Roberts for P Kehoe (both h-t), D Kavanagh for Gaule (52 mins), P Coady (0-1) for Shaw (65 mins).

Referee: T Carroll (Offaly).

Westmeath host Galway in Mullingar on June 4th. The winner of that game will meet the winner of next Sunday’s tie between Dublin and Offaly at Croke Park. In the other side of the draw, Wexford play Antrim in Wexford next Sunday, with the winner meeting Kilkenny on June 11th.