Joe McDonagh Cup: Colm Bonnar steps down as Carlow hurling manager
Joe McDonagh Cup Round 5
Westmeath 1-21 Carlow 2-13
By Kieran Murphy at TEG Cusack Park
Carlow came to Mullingar for this Joe McDonagh Cup game looking for a miracle if they were to progress to the final of the competition. They were hoping that Meath would beat Antrim in Navan and then they themselves had to overcome the home side here by a huge margin. Despite an early Meath goal, this was never likely to happen and by the end back at the County Westmeath venue both sides were only playing for pride.
Westmeath took an early 0-4 to 0-1 lead with Aonghus Clarke firing over two points and Shane Williams and Jack Galvin also finding the posts. Chris Nolan landed Carlow’s opening score and John Michael Nolan (no relation) went better than that when his rocket on eight minutes gave Eoin Skelly no chance in the Westmeath goal.
The home side hit back and on 23 minutes Robbie Greville sliced through the Carlow defence, off-loaded to Niall Mitchell who found the net. That three-pointer helped Westmeath into a 1-9 to 1-7 half-time lead.
As Antrim took control elsewhere, Westmeath took control and three old stagers, Brendan Murtagh, Derek McNicholas and Eoin Price were introduced into the game. Another experienced player, Aonghus Clarke, who started, was on fire and tacked over six points in a row at one stage in the second half. He finished with a grand total of 0-13.
Carlow came again in the final minutes and when James Doyle’s effort was only half blocked JoHn Nolan was on hand to force the sliotar over the line. This was only a consolation effort and of little consequence in the travails of both these teams who would have been looking for a lot more out of the competition.
Afterwards, the Carlow manager, Colm Bonnar announced he was stepping down. Since his arrival in 2017 he has led the county to a league 2A title, Christy Ring and Joe McDonagh cup successes while under his guidance Carlow played for two years in the Leinster senior hurling championship. Carlow also maintained their status in the NHL 1B competition last year.
“I think it is time for a fresh voice and a fresh face and give the lads a chance to regroup. It has been great. I have really enjoyed it and have fond memories of my time in Carlow,” he said afterwards.
Scorers for Westmeath: Aonghus Clarke 0-13 (0-6 frees, 0-2 65s), Cormac Boyle 0-4, Niall Mitchell 1-0, Jack Galvin 0-1, Shane Williams 0-1, Brendan Murtagh 0-1, Luke Loughlin 0-1
Scorers for Carlow: Chris Nolan 0-5 (0-2 frees), Jon Nolan 1-1, John Michael Nolan 1-0, Kevin McDonald 0-4 (0-3 frees), Jack Kavanagh 0-2, Eddie Byrne 0-1.
WESTMEATH: Eoin Skelly; Brendan Doyle, Darragh Egerton, Conor Shaw; Aaron Craig, Tommy Doyle, Alan Cox; Cormac Boyle, Robbie Greville; Joey Boyle, Aonghus Clarke, Jack Galvin; Darragh Clinton, Niall Mitchell, Shane Williams. Subs: Luke Loughlin for Williams (35), Brendan Murtagh for Galvin (49), Conor Kane for Cox (53), Eoin Price for Clinton (54), Derek McNicholas for Mitchell (63).
CARLOW: Damien Jordan; Ross Smithers, Paul Doyle, Michael Doyle; Ger Coady, David English, Diarmuid Byrne; Jack Kavanagh, Aaron Amond; John Michael Nolan, Paul Coady, Eddie Byrne; Chris Nolan, Kevin McDonald, Marty Kavanagh. Subs: James Doyle for C. Nolan (43), Richard Coady for Amond (56)
Referee: Tom Walsh (Waterford)