Luke Dempsey’s Carlow side caused a huge shock when they defeated Louth in their Leinster Senior Football Championship tie at Portlaoise on Sunday afternoon.
Carlow were much the better side in the opening half, and with Brendan Murphy leading the way they soon took control of the game. The early minutes were end to end stuff and those who travelled to Portlaoise were treated to a fine game. Patrick Hickey scored the first point of the afternoon to get Carlow off the mark and although Shane Lennon equalised soon after, Carlow were always the stronger team. Daniel St Ledger pointed to give Carlow back the advantage,then Sean Gannon added another score to leave it 0-3 to 0-1. David Reid reduced the advantage for Louth before Brendan Murphy made it a two point game once more.
Daragh Foley pointed to give Carlow back their advantage and his score was followed by a fine point from Brian Donnelly. St Ledger was in great form for Carlow and he scored his second of the afternoon soon after. Paddy Keenan replied for Louth but Ed Finnegan hit back for Carlow. The turning point came a minute later, when Dessie Finnegan was shown a red card and Louth were reduced to fourteen men. St Ledger pointed the resultant free to increase Carlow’s lead. Derek Maguire had the final say of the half and his point left it 0-8 to 0-5 at the break.
Shane Lennon got the first point after the restart to narrow the gap to two points. The same player added another free minutes later and Derek Crilly intercepted a pass and kicked over to tie the match at eight points each. Carlow went back in front soon after,but Louth’s star man Paddy Keenan tied the scores with a great point. Shane Lennon gave Louth the lead for the first time when he pointed from a free. The Wee County really stepped up a gear after the break and despite the man less they played really well. Ronan Carroll fisted a point to give them a two point advantage.
Shane Lennon pointed another free to make it 0-12 to 0-9. Brian Murphy hit back for Carlow but Lennon,who was outstanding on the day. kicked a point from play to leave it 0-13 to 0-10. Brendan Murphy added another Carlow score as the game moved inside the last ten minutes. Murphy kicked a late point with three minutes to go to leave the minimum between the teams. Daniel St Ledger drew the game right on the stroke of 70 minutes to draw the game. However, there was to be one final twist to the game, and Carlow’s star man, Brendan Murphy won it for his side with the very last kick of the game.