Carlow break Westmeath stranglehold on Christy Ring Cup

Carlow 3-22 Westmeath 4-16 (after extra-time)

Carlow 3-22 Westmeath 4-16 (after extra-time)

Westmeath's hopes of a third Christy Ring Cup triumph in four years were dashed at O'Connor Park in Tullamore this evening as Carlow dug deep to carve out an extra-time win.

The Barrowsiders scored four unanswered points in the second period of extra-time to secure victory in tonight's all-Leinster final.

They were unlucky not to lift the trophy after normal time, having led by 10 points by the 45th minute.

Late goals from John Shaw and a Brendan Murtagh penalty strike, five minutes into injury time, ensured an extra-time showdown.

Yet Carlow were not to be denied as they showed great drive and stamina with scores from Shane Kavanagh (0-02), Seamus Murphy and Craig Doyle paving the way for this historic success.

A wind-assisted Westmeath side dominated possession in the opening minutes of this contest, and led by 1-05 to 0-03 after 12 minutes, with full-forward Derek McNicholas breaking through for their goal.

Carlow regained the edge before the interval, but with Murtagh deadly accurate from frees - he claimed the final two points of the half - the sides were level at the interval at 1-10 apiece.

Despite a strong finish to the opening half, Westmeath failed to score for 13 minutes after the restart as Carlow dominated in all quarters.

Colin Hughes added further points to his tally while Foley and Doyle added two superb goals in the space of a minute, just five minutes after the restart.

Westmeath failed to falter in normal time as Shaw and Murtagh's late goals set up two periods of extra time.

Regrouping well and showing the better fitness, Carlow pulled away though in extra time for Richard Coady to accept the cup from Nickey Brennan after the game.

CARLOW: D Miley; A Gaule (0-01), D Shaw, J Rodgers; E Coady, S Kavanagh (0-04, 0-03f), R Coady (0-01); D Roberts (0-01, 0-01 sl), A Brennan; R Dunbar (0-03), C Hughes (0-07, 0-05f), M Brennan (0-02); J Coady, R Foley (1-01), C Doyle (2-01).

Subs used: J Hickey for A Brennan, K English for Dunbar (both 61 mins), D Murphy for Foley (62), B Lawler for J Coady (70+1), S Murphy (0-01) for Roberts (70+3); J Doran for R Coady (77), R Foley for Hughes (82), R Dunbar for S Murphy (84).

WESTMEATH: M Briody; G Gavin, P Greville (0-01), A Price; B Connaughton, D McCormack, P Dowdall; L Smyth (0-01), P Clarke; A Mitchell, B Murtagh (2-10, 0-07f, 2-00 pen), E Price (0-03); R Jackson, D McNicholas (1-01), J Shaw (1-00).

Subs used: B Smyth for Jackson (24 mins), C Jordan for Greville (42), N Gavin for Gavin (50), P Gilsenan for B Smyth (57, blood sub), P Greville for Mitchell (70+1); C Flanagan for L Smyth (85).

Referee: Noel Cosgrove (Tipperary)

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