McDonagh Cup: Carlow secure place in Final
Joe McDonagh Cup
CARLOW 3-21 WESTMEATH 1-21
By Conor McKenna at Netwatch Cullen Park
A hat-trick from corner forward James Doyle guided Colm Bonner’s Carlow outfit to a priceless 3-21 to 1-21 victory over Westmeath, with the sides set to meet again in the Joe McDonagh Cup decider in three weeks time.
Westmeath forward Joey Boyle opened the scoring with a point after 15 seconds, before Castletown-Geoghegan’s Niall O’Brien doubled his sides advantage shortly after.
Carlow would go on to score the next three points to claim the lead, before another free from O’Brien levelled procedures.
Carlow then got the game’s opening goal, when an excellent pass from Jack Kavanagh found James Doyle who buried the ball to the back of the net, after getting past Shane Power, to give his side a three point advantage.
Westmeath responded with four points in a row to reclaim the lead and it was very close right up to the break, with Colm Bonner’s side holding a 1-10 to 0-11 lead at the interval.
Paul Coady opened the second half scoring with an excellent effort, with Denis Murphy following up with another score moments later.
Westmeath came back again though with four more scores, with a marvellous effort from Aonghus Clarke levelling the scores at 1-12 to 0-15 with 47 minutes played.
Westmeath super sub Niall Mitchell then got his side's opening goal, with a great finish to the back of the net, with the Clonkill native only on the pitch for a couple of seconds, before raising a green flag.
Carlow were awarded a penalty in the 60th minute after Diarmuid Byrnes was fouled, and James Doyle made no mistake with the finish as Carlow took the lead.
James Doyle completed his hat trick after 66 minutes, to give his side a five point lead much to the delight of the home contingent.
A monster free from Carlow netminder Brian Tracey was the icing of the cake, with Aonghus Clarke’s late point no more than consolation, as the hosts held out for a priceless six points victory.
The game was outstanding from start to finish and it will be an intriguing encounter when the sides meet again in the final on the 1st of July with both sides right to fancy their chances of victory.
Scorers for Carlow: Denis Murphy 0-10 (5f, 1 “65”), J Doyle 3-1 (1 “pen”), Chris Nolan 0-3, Jack Kavanagh and Paul Coady 0-2 each, Edward Byrne, John Michael Nolan and Brian Tracey (1f) 0-1 each.
Scorers for Westmeath: Niall O’Brien 0-6 (4f), Aonghus Clarke 0-4, Shane Clavin 0-3, Niall Mitchell 1-0, Joey Boyle, Eoin Price and Darragh Clinton 0-2 each, Paul Greville and John Gilligan 0-1 each.
CARLOW: Brian Tracey; Alan Corcoran, Paul Doyle, Michael Doyle; Diarmuid Byrne, Richard Coady, Richard Kelly; Jack Kavanagh, Kevin McDonald; John Michael Nolan, Paul Coady, Edward Byrne; James Doyle, Denis Murphy, Chris Nolan. Subs used: Seamus Murphy for John Michael Nolan (43), Dion Wall for Michael Doyle (50), Ross Smithers for Paul Coady (57), Conor Foley for Chris Nolan (74).
WESTMEATH: Shane McGovern; Shane Power, Tommy Doyle, Liam Varley; Aaron Craig, Paul Greville, Derek McNicholas; Eoin Price, Aonghus Clarke; John Gilligan, Shane Clavin, Robbie Greville; Niall O'Brien, Joey Boyle, Darragh Clinton. Subs used: Brendan Doyle for Shane Power (29), Niall Mitchell for Robbie Greville (47), Ciaran Doyle for Derek McNicholas (58), Jack Galvin for Eoin Price (62), Alan Cox for John Gilligan (69).
*Referee: *Colum Cunning (Antrim).