by Tony Tighe
Carlow booked their place in tomorrow’s qualifier draw after edging a dour defensive battle with London at Ruislip.
The Barrowsiders never trailed in a turgid stop-start affair, with the free-taking of Paul Broderick and Darragh Foley getting them nervously over the line.
Eleven cards were brandished by fussy Fermanagh referee Niall Cullen, including reds to Jarlath Branagan and Brendan Murphy, the latter dismissed for the second successive game after picking up two yellow cards in the space of a minute on the hour mark.
Carlow had a strong breeze on their backs in the opening half but maintained their ultra-defensive outlook, often piling 14 men behind the ball.
The visitors led 0-4 to 0-2 after 12 minutes, Sean Murphy grabbing the pick of the scores after a surging run, but the scores then dried up and London drew level through two Rory Mason frees.
Late points from Brendan Murphy and Broderick helped Carlow into a 0-7 to 0-5 lead at the end of a forgettable first half, and they moved further ahead thanks to two frees from Foley before wing-back Danny Moran was denied by a fine save from Gavin McEvoy.
London had Branagan sent off on 53 minutes following a harmless tussle with Sean Gannon, but Carlow were also reduced to 14 when Murphy – moments after receiving a yellow – grabbed Owen Mulligan by the neck and was promptly given his marching orders.
London kept in touching distance but Carlow played possession football in the closing stages to close out the win.
Carlow: P Broderick 0-6 (5f), D Foley 0-3 (2f), S Murphy, B Murphy, D O’Brien, J Murphy 0-1 each.
London: R Mason (4f), L Gavaghan (1f) 0-4 each, E Murray 0-2, J Branagan, A Moyles 0-1 each.
Carlow: R Molloy; C Crowley, S Redmond, C Lawlor; D Moran, D St Ledger, G Kelly; B Murphy, S Murphy; E Ruth, D Foley, A Kelly; P Broderick, S Gannon, J Murphy.
Subs: BJ Molloy for Lawlor (30), C Moran for Ruth (35, black card), D O’Brien for A Kelly (54), K Nolan for G Kelly (69).
London: G McEvoy; P Butler, Ciaran Dunne, C O’Neill; J Branagan, R Jones, Colin Dunne; M Carroll, C Og Greene; E Murray, L Gavaghan, M Gottsche; R Mason, O Mulligan, K Butler.
Subs: K Hughes for Carroll (ht), D Carrabine for Colin Dunne (ht), M McGirr for Jones (69), A Moyles for Murray (70), C Doran for O’Neill (70).
Referee: N Cullen (Fermanagh).