A brilliant first quarter set Louth up for a four-point win over Carlow in a high-scoring and entertaining Leinster U-21 Championship first-round tie at Darver last night.
Niall Quinlan gave Carlow an early lead, but by the 17th minute Louth were 10 points clear, goals from Robert Carr, Cian Doyle and Ryan Burns helping to ease the home side into a 3-4 to 0-3 lead. By half-time, however, gritty Carlow were back, goals from sub Mark Rennick and Graham Power making it 3-6 to 2-5.
The dividing margin was down to a point early in the second-half, and when Louth had ace forward Cian Doyle sent off an upset was on the cards.
But despite them losing captain Conor Grimes to a black card Louth did enough to earn another home tie against Longford next Wednesday night.
Scorers for Louth: R Burns 1-5 (4f), R Carr 1-1, C Doyle 1-0, R Quigley 0-2, C Grimes 0-3 (1 sl).
Carlow scorers: G Power 1-2, M Rennick 1-1, N Quinlan 0-3 (2f), R O’Brien, D Walshe, K Chatten, F O’Toole 0-1 each.
LOUTH: D Breen; A Smith, C Kirk, C Ward; B Faulkner, D Marks, K Faulkner; J Stewart, W Campbell; R Quigley, E Lafferty, R Carr; R Burns, C Doyle, C Grimes.
Subs: S Kilcoyne for Marks (ht), C Carthy for Ward (46), D Maguire for Campbell (48), C Sheridan for Carr (59), C Lenehan for Smith (59), S McConnell for Grimes (60 BC).
CARLOW: L Roberts; M Furey, B Cawley; G Power, D Hickey, F O’Toole; J Dwyer, K Chatten; T Kenny, C Fenlon, S Webb; D Walshe, R O’Brien, N Quinlan.
Subs: M Rennick for Cawley (28), C Blake for Kenny (37), C Kelly for Hickey (53), L O’Sullivan for Fenlon (56), MJ Doran for O’Toole (59).
Referee: B Tiernan (Dublin).