Carlow overcame Westmeath 3-21 to 1-21 today to set up a Croke Park showdown on July 1 between the sides.
The Joe McDonagh Cup final is set to be a rematch of the Division 2A final, which Carlow also won earlier this year. At the other end of the table, Meath were relegated to the Christy Ring Cup.
Ten points from Denis Murphy helped his side to a huge win on what could be a magnificent weekend for the county, as the Carlow footballers take on Laois tomorrow in Croke Park with a Leinster final spot on the cards.
Aonghus Clarke kept Westmeath in touch, hitting 0-4 but it proved no match for a Carlow team who knew a win would secure them a final spot regardless of results elsewhere. On the 66th minute, James Doyle completed a hat-trick of goals and secured a comfortable victory.
With the round-robin over for the tournament, the format was undoubtedly a success. The only issue was the coverage. Games were not televised and there was times the Sunday Game didn't even read out the results. Westmeath manager Michael Ryan aired his frustration surrounding this on the balls.ie So-Called Weaker Podcast last week.
There have been a lot of even games, and the standard has been fairly good. What I would say is that the media coverage has been very poor. Particularly from the television point of view which is a problem for players. When you're trying to promote the game in these counties, a little bit of better coverage would be good.
Ryan went on to suggest TG4 as a potential broadcaster.
Some of the blame goes to RTE. At the end of the day, they didn't even put up the scores some weeks. Maybe they don't have enough cameras and reporters to go around, surely it costs nothing to throw the results on screen, yet there were some weeks in which they didn't even throw the results on screen. It shouldn't have happened. Each and every team down there are working just as hard as everybody else...
Maybe there should have been some kind of deal done with TG4 to show it. It's something that needs to be looked at going forward. We can probably forgive it because it's the first year of the competition, but it needs to be looked at.
A highlights programme of Joe McDonagh, Christy Ring, Nicky Rackard and Lory Meagher games would be very welcome. RTE dont confine football coverage to just top 10 teams so why do they do it in hurling? #GAA #sundaygame
— Michael Bermingham (@mickdaabrick) May 20, 2018
It has now been revealed Ryan will get his wish. Highlights from today's game will be shown on television, with TG4 confirming to balls.ie that their 8pm Monday highlights programme will include coverage from Westmeath vs Carlow.
The programme already shows the best GAA action from the U20, U21 and minor games and Monday's programme will also have exclusive coverage of minor games Tipperary vs Clare and Limerick vs Waterford.
It is hopefully the first step towards increased coverage for the competition going forward.