Carlow 0-14 Westmeath 1-09
Carlow ended their Leinster SHC qualifier group campaign with a first win as they overcame Westmeath by 0-14 to 1-9 at Dr. Cullen Park.
Andrew Gaul and Denis Murphy both pointed in injury-time for John Meyler's men, who finished the game with 13 players.
Derek McNicholas' 13th-minute goal gave winless Westmeath the early edge, but a Murphy free had Carlow back level at the break - 0-8 to 1-5 - and the hosts went on to win this tense affair.
Westmeath started brightly and by the end of the first quarter they were 1-4 to 0-2 ahead with their goal coming from a McNicholas penalty.
The hosts were slow to find their feet as they relied on Murphy's free-taking to keep them in touch.
For Westmeath, Niall O'Brien was also solid from placed balls while their full-back line was doing a good job at cutting out deliveries into the Carlow full-forward line.
Just before the break Carlow's Marty Kavanagh missed a penalty. The wet conditions certainly played a part as he failed to get a clean strike on the ball. However, the sides still went in level – 0-8 to 1-5.
Carlow opened brightly in the second period with Sean Murphy lofting a beautiful score. But they were dealt a blow when Diarmuid Byrne was sent to the line for a second yellow card in the 45th minute with the scoreboard showing 0-10 to 1-7.
However, the Lakesiders did not use the spare man effectively as they persisted with trying to play the ball through the middle where Carlow battled well.
Westmeath's Aonghus Clarke brought his side level at 1-8 to 0-11 after 48 minutes and the game became bogged down with neither side scoring for over 10 minutes before Marty Kavanagh broke the deadlock.
A fantastic battle ensued right up to the finish with a draw looking likely as Eoin Price for Westmeath and Paul Coady for Carlow contributed fine scores.
But with the final whistle imminent, it was Carlow who found the extra gear with Eddie Byrne setting up Gaul for the lead point before a Murphy free made the victory certain.
Westmeath's Ciaran Curley was also sent to the line for his second yellow card in the 63rd minute, while Sean Murphy saw red for an off-the-ball incident late on.
The win means Carlow must wait to see how Westmeath and London get on in their final round robin fixture next weekend before the final placings are decided with the bottom of five teams relegated to Christy Ring hurling for 2015. The second-from-bottom team will play the Christy Ring champions in a relegation/promotion play-off.
Antrim and Laois are already assured of their places in the Leinster Championship proper for this year.
CARLOW: Brian Treacy; Alan Corcoran, Shane Kavanagh, Gary Kelly; Hugh Paddy O'Byrne, Richard Coady, Diarmuid Byrne; Jack Kavanagh, Paudie Kehoe; James Doyle, Marty Kavanagh (0-1), Denis Murphy (0-7, 0-5f), Paul Coady (0-1), Sean Murphy (0-4), Andrew Gaul (0-1).
Subs used: Craig Wall for S Kavanagh (33 mins), Eddie Byrne for P Coady (57).
WESTMEATH: Peter Collins; Kieran Duncan, Tommy Doyle, Liam Varley; Gary Greville, Aaron Craig, Philip Gilsenan; Ciaran Curley, Eoin Price (0-2); Robbie Greville (0-1), Alan Devine, Davy Gavin; Philip Reilly, Derek McNicholas (1-0, 1-0 pen), Niall O'Brien (0-4, 0-4f).
Subs used: Aonghus Clarke (0-2) for Gavin (12 mins), T Gallagher for Reilly (49).
Referee: John Keenan (Wicklow)