Carlow survived a London fightback to make a winning start to their Leinster SHC campaign with a Craig Doyle hat-trick at Dr Cullen Park, 4-17 to 2-13.

Sean Murphy cracked home a 31st minute goal, and added two points as the home side eased clear.

Three Gerard Hennelly scores kept the Exiles in touch, but they trailed by 1-07 to 0-05 at half-time.

Doyle netted Carlow’s second goal, but Martin Duggan and sub Luke Hands netted for London, before Doyle completed his hat-trick.

Jack Kavanagh and Richard Coady established a platform at midfield as the home side displayed energy and vigour in the opening stages, but fell down badly in the art of finishing, a Shane Kavanagh point their only reward.

Gerard Hennelly brought the Exiles level, but they needed a smart save from Darren Russell to deny Kavanagh, who charged through to fire in a shot on goal.

That was the signal for Carlow to lift their game to a new level, with Sean Murphy rising to the challenge with a couple of sweetly struck scores from play.

Kavanagh and Edward Coady, with a huge effort from inside his own half, also hit the target as they moved into a 0-05 to 0-01 by the end of the opening quarter.

Martin Duggan and Donal Reale kept London in it with points on the breakaway, but with Carlow full-back Eoin Doyle performing heroically, Eamonn Phelan’s men were repeatedly frustrated.

And they suffered a blow four minutes before the break when Craig Doyle, who had helped himself to a stylish point just after coming in as a blood sub, sent Murphy through for a goal, finished clinically past a helpless Russell.

Hennelly swept over a couple of late points, but Carlow held control at the interval, ahead by 1-07 to 0-05.

And they tightened their grip with a second goal six minutes after the restart.

Once again, Doyle was the man of the moment, slipping his marker to finish Shane Kavanagh’s cross to the net from close range.

Martin Duggan had given London renewed hope with a couple of points, but when Marty Kavanagh, Murphy and Doyle swept over points, Carlow led by ten with just ten minutes played in the second half.

Diarmuid Byrne made a big contribution to a solid defensive effort as Carlow repelled a series of London raids, but Duggan plundered a goal in the 52nd minute, getting a stick to Stephen Lamberts long-distance free.

London began to believe they could get something from the game when substitute Luke Hands burst past two tackles to fire in their second goal, narrowing the gap to four points.

But the Barrowsiders stepped on the gas once again, with Marty Kavanagh hitting the target consistently from frees, before Doyle killed off the Metropolitan challenge with two late strikes.

The first was a superb flick past ‘keeper Russell, the second an equally spectacular effort, which saw him skip past his marker and the goalkeeper to plant the ball in an empty net.

Even the dismissal of Jack Kavanagh for a second booking did not derail Carlow’s confident late charge.

Carlow: F Foley, A Corcoran, E Nolan, H O’Byrne, D Byrne, D English, J O’Hara, R Coady (0-01), J Kavanagh (0-01), E Coady (0-01), S Kavanagh (0-01), S Murphy (1-03), J Nolan, M Kavanagh (0-07, 5f, 1 pen), P Coady (0-01).

Subs: C Doyle (3-02)for J Nolan (21), D Shaw for O’Hara (40), P Shaw for P Coady (53)

London: D Russell, B Healy, B Costelloe, D Healy, D Maher, B Regan, J Walsh, PJ Rowe, H Vaughan, S Lambert (0-04, 3f), J Egan, T Dunne, G Hennelly (0-05, 3f, 2 ’65), M Duggan (1-03), D Reale (0-01).

Subs: J Maher for Vaughan (23), S Frawley for Egan (47), L Hands for Hennelly (51), C McAlinden for Maher

Referee: J Sexton (Cork)