Carlow halted a losing streak against their old rivals Westmeath in their Allianz Hurling League Division 2A clash at Netwatch Cullen Park, digging out a 1-20 to 1-14 win.
After league and Joe McDonagh successes over the Barrowsiders the visitors were favourites going into this one, but from a long way out there only looked like there'd be one winner.
Kevin McDonald spearheaded the victory, scoring three points in the opening four minutes to get Carlow off to a great start. Fiachra Fitzpatrick also split the posts and Kevin Regan's strike eventually got Westmeath off the mark.
Carlow were solid in defence and the Midlanders lived on scraps. Jack Gillen was the Westmeath danger man and scored four points in the half as the entire Carlow half-forward line scored from play.
The youthful pairing of Conor Kehoe and Fitzpatrick at midfield belied their relative inexperience, accounting for a combined total of 0-03 as the home side went into the interval leading 0-14 to 0-08.
The experienced Aonghus Clarke scored a point immediately on the turnaround but it didn’t rock the Carlow confidence. Paul Doyle, Conor Lawlor and Michael Doyle picked up anything which passed a solid half-back line and even though they were playing against the wind Carlow still stretched their lead.
With seven minutes left a high ball was not collected by the Westmeath defence and McDonald flicked on the sliotar into space. He ran on and letting fly the resultant three-pointer ensured there would be no comeback for Westmeath.
They did convert a penalty through Gillen but it was too little, too little for a visiting side who failed to fire.
Carlow: B Tracey (0-1f); P Doyle, C Lawlor, M Doyle; J McCullagh, D Byrne (0-1), J Kavanagh (0-1); C Kehoe (0-1), F Fitzpatrick (0-2); J Doyle (0-2), C Nolan (0-4), K McDonald (1-06, 0-03fs); D Tobin, JM Nolan (0-1), T Joyce (0-1).
Subs: P Coady for Tobin (64), S Treacy for JM Nolan (65), F O’Toole for Joyce (68), T Lawlor for C Nolan (68).
Westmeath: N Conaty; D Egerton, C Shaw, S McGovern; A Craig, T Doyle, J Galvin; C Boyle, A Clarke (0-1); K Regan (0-1), J Boyle, N Mitchell; J Gillen (1-6, 1-0 pen, 0-05fs), C Doyle (0-1), K Doyle (0-3 1f).
Subs: D McNicholas (0-1) for Regan (15), A Cox (0-1) for McGovern (48), C McCormack for C Doyle (50), O McCabe for J Boyle (55).
Referee: M Kennedy (Tipperary).
Kerry 4-18 Kildare 2-16
Kerry came good in the last 15 minutes at Tralee as they overcame Kildare.
Kildare, who had their six Naas players in the team which started, led by seven points mid-way through the first half, but Kerry would close the gap to just a point at the break.
Conway saw his penalty brilliantly saved by Paddy McKenna but Fionán Mackessy would find the net for them before the teams headed for the dressing rooms.
The Lilywhites had the best of the third quarter but, trailing by three points with 56 minutes on the clock, the Kingdom scored crucial majors, from Shane Conway and Shane Nolan (penalty) to move clear late on and secure the points.
Meath 1-19 Down 2-18
Down made it two wins from two in Division 2A as they came away from an entertaining clash at Navan with full points.
A Chris Egan goal helped them into a four-point lead at the break but Damien Healey put the cat amongst the pigeons when he goaled for Meath shortly after the restart.
The Royals drew level with 10 minutes to go but a brace of fine points from Paul Sheehan helped the Mourne to finally see off the challenge of their hosts.