Carlow 0-17 Waterford 1-13
By Jackie Cahill at Dr. Cullen Park, Carlow
Late points from sub Jack Kennedy and Daniel St Ledger sealed a remarkable come-from-behind victory for Carlow in this afternoon’s All-Ireland SFC round 1B qualifier against Waterford at Dr. Cullen Park.
With the sides level approaching the finish, Kennedy slotted over the lead score before St Ledger landed a monster free for his fourth point of the game, all from placed balls.
Kennedy was only on the field after Ciaran Moran received a black card five minutes from time and Carlow also lost Willie Minchin to a second yellow card deep in stoppage time.
The hosts may have finished with 14 men but they still managed to cling on for a narrow win to restore real pride following the 28-point mauling against Meath in the Leinster championship.
And Carlow had to come from five points down in the second half to clinch a morale-boosting success.
In the battle between two Division 4 teams, Waterford looked to have the upper hand for long spells but once wind-assisted Carlow built up a head of steam, they proved impossible to stop.
In front of just 300 spectators, Anthony Rainbow’s Carlow trailed by 0-6 to 1-8 early in the second half.
But St Ledger, Benny Kavanagh and Darragh Foley led the fightback as Carlow came roaring back.
At half-time, visitors Waterford led by 1-6 to 0-6 and a sucker-punch goal scored by Liam O’Lionain hurt Carlow, who made four changes in personnel before the start.
Rainbow’s men were unlucky to trail by three points at half-time after Foley fisted an effort off the upright and later saw a fierce effort kept out by Stephen Enright in the Waterford goal.
Carlow also saw two frees strike Enright’s left-hand upright and when Liam O’Lionain intercepted Richard Mahon’s stray handpass before slotting home a well-taken goal in the 35th minute, Waterford had the whip hand.
But spirited Carlow would finish with nine different players on the scoresheet against a Waterford side reliant on the scoring prowess of Whyte, O’Lionain and marauding centre back Shane Briggs.
Having lost out to Clare in the Munster championship, Waterford’s campaign is now over as their dismal All-Ireland qualifier run continues.
In their last 13 All-Ireland qualifiers, Waterford have recorded just one victory and after two years in charge, the spotlight will fall on manager Niall Carew and whether or not the former Kildare selector will remain in charge.
CARLOW: A O’Brien; R Mahon, C Lawlor, B.J. Molloy; K Nolan (0-1), D St Ledger (0-4, 3f, 1 45), B Kavanagh (0-2); E Ruth (0-1), H Gahan; M Meaney (0-1), C Moran, D Bambrick; D Foley (0-1), S Kinsella (0-3, 2f), C Coughlan (0-3, 1f).
Subs: W Minchin for Gahan (29), G Power for Mahon (43), J Kennedy (0-1) for Moran (b/c, 65), J Lowry for Kavanagh (68), M Ware for Foley (b/c 70+1).
WATERFORD: S Enright; D Crowley, T O’Gorman, M O’Gorman; W Hutchinson, S Briggs (0-2), O Keevers; S Ahearne, T Prendergast (0-1); D Grey, L O’Lionain (1-2), T O’Huallachain; B Wall, P Whyte (0-8, 5f), JJ Hutchinson.
Subs: M Curry for Grey (43), D Allen for Wall (45), C O’Keeffe for W Hutchinson (53), Michael O’Gorman for O’Huallachain (65), N Walsh for Crowley (67).
Referee: C Reilly (Meath) – replaced by P O’Sullivan (Kerry) at half-time.