Carlow footballers created a little piece of history when they defeated Offaly by 0-14 to 1-10 in a close, tense all-Ireland SFC qualifier match in Carlow today. 

It is the first time Carlow has defeated what would be traditionally regarded as one of the leading four football powers in the province since they won their only Leinster title in 1944.

Mark Carpenter sent the Barrowsiders through to the second round with a point almost 39 minutes into the second half after Offaly had tied the scores with a 34th minute penalty.

He took a pass on the right and slipped him marker on the inside to float over the winner.

It was a disappointing first-half, dominated by Alan Mangan's whistle and the Kerry referee produced nine yellow cards, seven to Carlow players; five in a stoppage-ridden opening half while Offaly collected three.

Carlow were struck a blow four minutes into the game when late draftee to number six Willie Power was stretchered off with a suspected broken leg.

Number thirteen Simon Rea was Carlow's lone first-half scorer when the teams retired with the home team 0-07 to 0-04 ahead - five of his points from frees - whereas Offaly, who kicked 37 wides in their previous two matches, failed to score in the closing 16 minutes of the first and were restricted to just eight wides all evening.

The midfield battle ebbed and flowed with the two number nines dominating, the imperious Thomas Walsh and Alan McNamee playing some fine football.

When Offaly's top-scorer Niall McNamee netted the penalty five minutes earlier, after goalkeeper John Brennan had fouled the ball outside the small square, it had all the signs of Offaly's late penalty win in last season's league match at the same venue.

However the home team, whose reputedly shaky back line played excellently, played most of the football in the final five minutes, with the biggest crowd seen at the venue since Laois defeated Dublin in the repeat of the '03 all-Ireland minor final.

But Carpenter stepped up deep in injury-time to ensure that the Faithful County’s miserably short season ended on the lowest of notes.

Carlow: J Brennan, C McCarthy (0-01), L Murphy, P Cashin, J Hayden, W Power, R Sinnott, P Walsh, T Walsh, B Carbery (0-01) J Byrne, P Hickey, S Rea (0-8, 5f) M Carpenter (0-02), B Kelly (0-02)

Subs: J Kehoe for Power 6; P Kelly for Sinnott 34; R Walker for Hickey 55; K Pender for Kelly 60.

Offaly: P Kelly, C Daly, C Evans, S Brady, J Keane, S O'Sullivan, K Slattery, C McManus, A McNamee, C Quinn, M Daly (0-02), N Coughlan (0-01), N McNamee (1-06, 1 pen, 5f), P Kellaghan, J Reynolds (0-01)

Subs: J Coughlan for Daly 56; T Deehan for Kelleghan 67.