After 43 minutes Offaly were 0-9 to 0-5 in front, however, Anthony Rainbow’s Carlow gallantly revived their fortunes, and boosted by fine scores from Darragh Foley (2), Brendan Murphy (2), Paul Reid and Brian Murphy they edged ahead for the first time (0-11 to 0-10) after 63 minutes.
But Offaly then hit 2-1 in four minutes to seal the deal. Ken Casey, returned from injury and in as a sub, hoisted in a high ball and Sean Pender rose highest to fist to the net. Casey curled over a quality 65th minute point and two minutes later Brian Connor thumped Offaly’s second goal. Carlow were annoyed a penalty appeal was waved away prior to Connor’s strike and when John Murphy pulled a goal back for Carlow, it was too late. Carlow’s Ray Walker was sent off in injury-time.
OFFALY: A Mulhall 0-1f; B Darby 0-1, P McConway, S Sullivan; E Carroll, S Pender 1-0, E Rigney; M Brazil, A McNamee; R Dalton, G Guilfoyle 0-1, W Mulhall 0-2; J Maher 0-4 (3f), B Connor 1-0, R Allen.
Subs: N McNamee 0-1 for Maher (52), R Brady for Allen (55), K Casey 0-1 for W Mulhall (59), N Darby for Guilfoyle (68).
CARLOW: T O’Reilly; C Lawler, S Mernagh, B Kavanagh; K Nolan, S Redmond, M Doyle; D Foley 0-3 (2f), J Murphy 1-0; R Walker, P Reid 0-1, E Ruth 0-1; Brian Murphy 0-3f, Brendan Murphy 0-3, W Minchin.
Subs: S Gannon for Minchin (58), A Kelly for Reid (69), C Moran for Ruth (69), K Jackson for J Murphy (70).
Referee: A Nolan, Wicklow.