By Kieran Murphy
CARLOW senior hurling manager Colm Bonnar has labelled the new Walsh Cup fixture schedule as a “bit crazy”.
On Sunday 9 December, Carlow are at home to Dublin and a week later they travel to play Laois. On 6 January Carlow have a final group home match against Offaly.
Not one to overreact in any situation, Bonnar has taken a positive view.
“We have been moved up a grade in the Walsh Cup. It is great for the likes of us so we will be playing the likes of Dublin, Offaly and Laois. It will be preparation in terms of giving us an idea of where we are,” he confirmed.
He agreed the earlier matches will be a source of worry.
“Officially we are not back [training] until the first of December which is a bit crazy with the Walsh Cup is early December. It is important we give a good account of ourselves as we are playing Dublin, Offaly and Laois in the league after Christmas. It is important to lay down a marker for ourselves.”
In the past Bonnar, worked on the players’ physicality before Christmas. He will have less time to do this now.
“It is very hard to find any hurling form in the middle of December. That is the nature of it. It is not ideal. Our previous two years we trained, we kept the hurl out of the hand and concentrated on strength and conditioning, trying to keep an appetite up for the hurling. Now they are going to have to play very competitive games against Dublin and Laois in the middle of December which means they will have to go back hurling. December is not a good month to play hurling,” he insisted.
“It is what it is and now we have to find form in December. It gives us a marker and that is what we will have to work on.”
The O’Byrne Cup also begins in early December where Carlow entertain Westmeath on 8 December and then travel to Kildare on 15 December. They conclude the group stages with a home tie against Offaly on 5 January.
Carlow football manager Turlough O’Brien is not too concerned about the change.
“Better than three games in a week,” he said. “We can’t have it every way and I am happy enough.”
Upcoming hurling schedule ‘a bit crazy’: Bonnar
By Kieran Murphy