By Cóilín Duffy
Carlow returned to winning ways in the Joe McDonagh Cup with a 0-21 to 1-14 win over Meath at Netwatch Cullen Park.
Denis Murphy and Chris Nolan provided the bulk of the hosts tally, with Marty Kavanagh still absent for the Barrowsiders, who were also without Richard Coady through suspension.
Murphy claimed eight points from frees, while Nolan added six points in a game where the sides were tied at 0-16 to 1-13 after 59 minutes, before Carlow put in a strong finish.
Earlier, nothing separated the sides either at the half-time break – deadlocked at 0-11 to 1-8, with a 32nd minute goal from Patrick Conneely bringing the Royals back into contention, after falling 0-10 to 0-7 in arrears.
Conneely finished top-scorer in this contest with 1-7, including six points from placed balls.
Conneely’s goal came after Mark O’Sullivan delivered a pass following a fine solo run.
Carlow began the second half brightly with scores from Edward Byrne and Murphy, while Adam Douglas replied for Meath.
A superb Adam Gannon point levelled the tie on 50 minutes, while a Gavin McGowan effort from play edged Meath in front for the first time.
A trio of unanswered scores settled Carlow with Nolan on fire.
Richard Kelly and James Doyle were also on target as Carlow pushed four points clear.
A Conneely effort cut the gap, but a late long range point from David English ensured a four-point margin at the full-time whistle.
Scorers for Carlow: Denis Murphy 0-8 (8fs), Chris Nolan 0-6 (1f), James Doyle 0-3, Paul Coady, Edward Byrne, Richard Kelly and David English (1f) 0-1 each.
Scorers for Meath: Patrick Conneely 1-7 (6fs), Gavin McGowan 0-3, Adam Gannon 0-2, Adam Douglas and Shane Brennan 0-1 each.
CARLOW: Brian Tracey; Alan Corcoran, Paul Doyle, Michael Doyle; Dion Wall, David English, Richard Kelly; Jack Murphy, Kevin McDonald; John Michael Nolan, Paul Coady, Edward Byrne; James Doyle, Denis Murphy, Chris Nolan.
Subs: Eoin Redmond for Dion Wall (40), Conor Foley for Jack Murphy (47), Ted Joyce for Denis Murphy (52), Andrew Casey for Richard Kelly (70).
MEATH: Shane McGann; Niall Weir, Sean Geraghty, Darragh Kelly; Joe Keena, Damien Healy, Keith Keoghan; Mark O’Sullivan, Alan Douglas; Cathal McCabe, James Kelly, Patrick Conneely; Shane Brennan, Adam Gannon, Gavin McGowan.
Subs: Kevin Keena for Mark O’Sullivan (HT), Steven Morris for Niall Weir (61), Eamonn O’Donnchada for Cathal McCabe (61), Neil Hefferan for Kevin Keena (64), Jack Regan for James Kelly (68).
REFEREE: John Keane (Galway).