By Paul Keane
Louth 2-24 Carlow 3-11
A late surge of scoring for the second game running proved decisive for Louth as they cruised through to a mouth-watering Leinster SFC quarter-final clash with old rivals Meath.
Ryan Burns' 1-7 haul ultimately tipped the balance as the Wee County strode to a 10-point win in Portlaoise though they were just two ahead with 62 minutes played.
Timely goals from Carlow kept them in the contest for the most part and they chased a repeat of their surprise 2011 provincial win over Louth at the same venue.
But 2-7 in the closing 10 minutes or so from Colin Kelly's Louth eased them to victory and they will head into the encounter with Meath on a high.
They also finished strong against Antrim in the Allianz league Division 4 final at Croke Park to claim spring silverware so will fancy their chances against the Royal County.
There'll be no love lost between the north-eastern neighbours at Parnell Park as the memory is still strong of Meath's Leinster final win in 2010 when an illegal injury-time goal decided the tie.
Louth were always in command here and were 0-11 to 0-6 up at half-time with Burns and Conor Grimes dove tailing superbly in attack.
But Chris Blake's 41st minute goal for Carlow and another from Darragh O'Brien with 55 minutes on the clock meant the Barrowsiders were always on their heels.
Louth led by 0-17 to 2-9 with 62 minutes played but finished strong from there and were 13 clear at one point deep into injury-time.
Burns hit their first goal in the 70th minute and Anthony Williams palmed in their second four minutes into injury-time.
Carlow did at least sign off on their provincial campaign with a converted penalty from Paul Broderick which proved the last action of the game.
Louth scorers: R Burns 1-7 (0-5f), J Califf 0-5 (0-3f), A Williams 1-0, J McEneaney 0-3, D Byrne, D Maguire, C Grimes 0-2, G McSorley, J Stewart, R Holcroft 0-1
Carlow scorers: D Foley 0-5 (0-5f), C Blake, D O'Brien, P Broderick (pen) 1-0, Brendan Murphy 0-2, S Gannon, B Kavanagh, P Broderick (0-1f), J Murphy 0-1.
Louth: C Lynch; K Toner, P Reilly, P Rath; D Maguire, D McMahon, A Williams; J Stewart, J Califf; D Byrne, J McEneaney, C McKeever; B Duffy, R Burns, C Grimes.
Subs: R Moore for Duffy (45), G McSorley (0-1) for McKeever (65), R Holcroft (0-1) for McEneaney (72), J Bingham for McMahon (75 BC).
Carlow: R Molloy; B Kavanagh, D St Ledger, K Nolan; H Gahan, J Murphy, G Kelly; B Murphy, S Gannon; D Lunney, D O'Brien, A Kelly; P Broderick, D Foley, C Blake.
Subs: Brian Murphy for Lunney (49), G Power for J Murphy (59), D Smithers for Blake (70), E Finnegan for Kelly (70).
Referee: Noel Mooney (Cavan).