Friday, December 14, 2018

EVEN though it is early December and much of the talk around the O’Byrne Cup opener at Netwatch Cullen Park was about the experimentation with the new playing rules, it was clear the players were happy to be back kicking football again.

Chris Crowley, the Palatine defender, was a little bit disappointed with his own form and the result. It is a question of him looking forward now.

“We took a break after the county final. The first game is tough. Cold conditions. The pitch isn’t great at the moment but it is good to get a game under your belt,” he said.

He is a tight man-marker. That can mean looking left, right and over his shoulder to make sure the forward doesn’t get a run on him. Crowley is worried about one aspect of the new rules.

“The hand-pass is tough. You are always trying to keep a count on them. You might have your back turned to one of them. It encourages long-kicking I suppose. It is OK for the forwards but as a defender you have to keep an eye on things,” he said.

“We had a few challenge games but, yeah, it was different today with the new rules.”

Only conceding 0-12 wouldn’t be bad on a normal Sunday, but your own side have to better that. Crowley pointed out Carlow didn’t excel in that department.

“Twelve points is not a lot to concede but we were a little flat in the end.

“We are glad to be back. Division 3 of the national league is going to be tough so we are glad to get the opportunity to get the fitness back.”

Carlow manager Turlough O’Brien has been down this road before. Early season games. Shadow boxing.

“Typical first game of the season. Obviously both sides are understrength and are experimenting with teams and adapting to the new rules.

“It is hard to read too much into it but it was a good honest effort for everybody. I thought we should have been closer at half-time. I think we had five wides coming up to half-time. There wasn’t much between the teams. We had a goal chance early in the second half but they had one as well.”

He was not concerned about the lowly eight points scored by Carlow over the 70 minutes

“We had a period of dominance in the second half but we couldn’t put scores on the board,” he remarked.

The Carlow manager is hopeful Broderick’s injury is not too serious.

“He got a bang on the head. We think he might be concussed so we took him off.”

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By kieran murphy
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