Carlow hurlers were relegated to Division 2A, after they suffered a six-point defeat at the hands of Westmeath, in TEG Cusack Park.

There was an awful lot at stake on this occasion, with both sides playing for survival and Westmeath stepped up to the plate, with the hosts delivering a near-perfect performance to secure their safety.

Carlow had wind advantage in the first half and they did not play well in the opening half, as Westmeath went into the interval with a seven point lead.

Westmeath started the match very well, as three Killian Doyle points gave them an early lead, though Carlow responded superbly, as points from Martin Kavanagh, Diarmuid Byrne and Jack Kavanagh levelled the tie.

A point from Doyle restored his sides advantage, before the same player found the net for the game's first goal moments later, to give his side a four-point lead.

Doyle picked up the breaking ball, before beating the goalkeeper with the finish, much to the delight of the home contingent.

Shane O'Brien has kept the Lake County in Division 1 for 2021

Martin Kavanagh's free reduced the deficit, but Westmeath finished the half superbly, scoring four points without reply, to give themselves a 1-8 to 0-4 lead at the break.

Two scores from Chris Nolan left five points between the teams, but Westmeath responded superbly, scoring the next four points in succession to stretch their lead to nine and the Lake County were in cruise control at this juncture.

The game looked over as a contest, when Doyle registered a point to leave ten between the sides, but Carlow scored two goals out of nowhere to bring themselves right back into contention.

The first one was a penalty, which Martin Kavanagh converted, before Diarmuid Byrne found the net with a flick to the net, after a Westmeath defender lost possession.

Doyle registered a superb side-line cut to settle Westmeath, before a late free from the same player sealed the win.

Carlow had Chris Nolan sent off on a second yellow card in stoppage time, with the referee calling a halt to proceedings shortly after, as Westmeath held out for a six-point win.

Westmeath will play in Division one next season, with Carlow set for Division two, though both sides will meet again in this year’s Joe McDonagh Cup.

Westmeath: Aaron McHugh; Darragh Egerton, Tommy Doyle, Conor Shaw; Aaron Craig, Aonghus Clarke, Shane Clavin (0-1); Cormac Boyle, Eoin Price; Robbie Greville, Killian Doyle (1-14, 0-10f, 0-1 "65", 1 S/L), Derek McNicholas (0-1); Darragh Clinton (0-1), Niall Mitchell, Jack Galvin.

Subs: Liam Varley for Craig (h-t), Joey Boyle for McNicholas (44), Josh Coll for Clinton (49), Adam Ennis for Egerton (53), John Gilligan for Clinton (67)

Carlow: Damien Jordan; Ross Smithers, Paul Doyle, Michael Doyle; Alan Corcoran, David English, Gary Bennett; Kevin McDonald, Aaron Amond; Jack Kavanagh (0-1), Diarmuid Byrne (1-1), John Michael Nolan; Chris Nolan (0-3, 0-2f), Martin Kavanagh (1-3, 0-3f, 1-0 pen), Ted Joyce.

Subs: Jon Nolan for John Michael Nolan (18), Edward Byrne for Joyce (44), Paul Coady for J Kavanagh (55), Richard Coady for Bennett (61), Sean Whelan for D Byrne (64)