Carlow footballers inflicted a first League defeat on high-lying Louth to ease their relegation worries before an attendance of about 1,000 at Netwatch Cullen Park tonight.
In a competitive first half, Carlow made a significant breakthrough on 12 minutes when, when with the teams level on 0-2 each great work by midfielder Brendan Murphy set up Sean Gannon for a well-taken goal.
Murphy was black carded on 28 minutes as the home county led 1-5 to 0-4 at the break.
Roared on by the home support Carlow dug in for the second half. Louth cut the arrears to a point when Sam Mulroy pointed a 53rd minute free (1-7 to 0-9) but a Darragh Foley point doubled the Carlow lead. Foley was black-carded on 45 minutes but Louth had their own troubles in that regard as corner forward Declan Byrne received a black card on 52 minutes while centre forward Ciaran Downey was red carded on 65 minutes. But, in truth, there was no malice in this game.
From there to the end Carlow held their nerve to score a narrow but merited with fine points from Seán Gannon, Jordan Morrissey and substitute Darragh O’Brien putting Carlow into a three point lead before a Louth rally late on produced two points but the visitors just fell short as they lost the divisional leadership to Down.
Having lost their previous two games to Longford and Offaly this was a crucial win for Carlow, who now have Down at home and neighbours Laois away in their final games. They defended strongly adopting their usual defensive set-up which meant that many of the Louth attacks were blunted.
The Carlow game plan certainly worked on the night and Turlough O’Brien can now feel that his side has practically seen off the threat of relegation.
Scorers for Carlow: S Gannon 1-1, D Foley 0-4f, L Walker, B Murphy, D St Ledger (f) 0-1, D O’Brien, J Morrissey 0-1 each
Scorers for.Louth: S Mulroy 0-5 f D Byrne 0-2 J Craven, B Duffy (f) J McEneaney A Mc Donnell and R Holcroft 0-1 each
Carlow: R Sansom; B J Molloy, S Redmond, C Lawlor; E Ruth, B Kavanagh, C Moran; B Murphy, S Murphy; J Morrissey S Gannon, L Walker,; Conor Crowley, D Foley, D St Ledger.
Subs: Chris Crowley for Molloy (49); D O'Brien for Conor Crowley (55); D Walshe for Walker (injured) (59)); J Murphy for Moran (67)
Louth F Sheeky; F Donohoe,E Carolan, J Craven; A Williams, B Duffy, J Clutterbuck: T Durnin, E Duffy; C Brannigan, C Downey, J McEneaney; A McDonnell, S Mulroy, D Byrne.
Subs: E Callaghan for Clutterbuck(44); R Holcŕoft fo McEneaney (55); D Corcoran for Donohoe (68) R Nally for Brannigan (70+1))
Referee: A Kissane (Waterford).