By Daragh Ó Conchúir
Carlow 2-17 Louth 0-12: The Carlow rising continued in Portlaoise and if the margin of victory was flattering, there was no questioning its merit after a commanding second-half performance.
Louth openly scored three points after the resumption, their efforts suffocated by a relentless Carlow cordon.
Once the Barrowsiders managed to open up a four-point lead, Louth had to come out and the ruthless utilisation of the subsequent space led to late goals from Diarmuid Walshe and the fantastic Paul Broderick.
Carlow had a slight wind advantage in the opening period and they kicked some very good points from distance, via the boots of Broderick and Darragh Foley.
The elements weren't so forceful as to hinder the efforts of the opposition however and Louth registered some good scores themselves.
At least two of those came as a result of the workrate of the attack, forcing turnovers with an aggressive high press and hitting the packed Carlow defence on the counter.
William Woods and Ryan Burns, who provided two points each in that opening period, both exhibited the type of industry Pete McGrath was demanding, and ye you finished of the moves too.
John Murphy operated in his customary sweeper role for the the Division 4 finalists, and the wing-forwards also drifted back as required.
That had the effect of providing open territory for the fleet-footed Seán Gannon to gallop into.
The midfielder was very unlucky not to get a goal when cutting in powerfully in the 27th minute, crashing a shot off the crossbar.
Gerard McSorley had his second point at the other end immediately but Carlow finished strongest, points from Walshe, Broderick (his fourth from play) and Eoghan Ruth edging them 0-10 to 0-9 in front at the change of ends.
They almost shot themselves in the foot early in the second half, when Robbie Molloy raid to get the intended height from his kick out and hit it straight at William Woods. Fortunately for the goalie, Woods could only chip it back into his grateful arms.
Daniel St Ledger stretched the lead from a 45m free and a brace of cornered frees by Broderick created the crucial four-point advantage.
Louth had plenty of possession but found it difficult to break through the Carlow wall, particularly as they did not seem to possess the same acumen for long-distance shooting that their opponents had.
The gap was still four when Walshe found the net in the 63rd minute after excellent work by Darragh O'Brien and Eoghan Ruth, and Broderick struck three minutes later to get the path under way.
It was all too much for Burns, who was sent off on a straight red card in injury time following an incident off the ball.
Scorers for Carlow: P Broderick 1-7 (0-3fs); D Walshe 1-2; E Ruth, D Foley (1f) 0-2 each; D St Ledger (f), S Murphy, S Gannon, L Walker (f)
Scorers for Louth: R Burns 0-3 (2fs); T Durnin, G McSorley, W Woods 0-2 each; H Osborne, D Byrne, J Craven 0-1 each
Carlow: R Molloy, D Moran, S Redmond, C Lawlor, J Morrissey, D St Ledger, C Moran, E Ruth, S Murphy, S Gannon, D Foley, D Walshe, P Broderick, J Murphy, D O'Brien. Subs: C Crowley for Moran (31), L Walker for Walshe (64), M Rennick for Morrissey (64), K Nolan for Lawlor (68), B Kavanagh for Moran (68)
Louth: C LynchD Marks, E Carolan, J Craven, D Maguire, B Duffy, A Williams, C Grimes, A McDonnell, C Downey, D Byrne, G McSorley, WWoods, T Durnin, R Burns. Subs: H Osborne for Maguire (23 BC), R Holcroft for Byrne (57), R Nally for Woods (62)
Referee: N Cullen (Fermanagh)