Wednesday, December 19, 2018

THERE was a sizeable media presence in and around the dressing-rooms after Saturday’s O’Byrne Cup game.

Being a Division 1 side last year, Kildare always attract a fair share of interest while Carlow’s achievement in beating the Lilywhites in the championship meant Carlow manager Turlough O’Brien was going to be asked more questions than would have been the case after two O’Byrne Cup games last January.

“The conditions were terrible. Of course, Kildare, I don’t know who they have up there but the wind died down at half-time. We are happy enough. We had a very experimental team out there. They battled hard. Unforced turnovers by experienced players in the first half gave Kildare the advantage,” he said.

He asked questions about the introduction of the new rules.

“You have as good an opinion as I have. Probably better. It is a lot of confusion. The players are confused. The opposition are counting your hand passes and they are trying to influence referees by saying he has to kick it now, he has to kick it now.

“This kind of thing is going on around the pitch. It is putting more pressure on the referee. It happened last week against Westmeath where we were blown for a third hand-pass. That is the sort of thing which is going to happen. The question is. Has it improved the game? I don’t think so.

“Players are very indecisive. It is very frustrating.”

As it stands, the players could be training under different rules for the league than they might be when the championship comes around.

“The league is the most important competition for 26 counties. Make no mistake about it.

“We have to leave it to legislators to decide what they are going to do with that. The players spoke well before the decision was made saying they were not in favour of it. Managers too. It was ignored completely.

“I heard some of your colleagues saying players and managers should have no say in this. Do you ever hear such nonsense?” queried O’Brien.

Looking forward, the Carlow manager confirmed they will be pushing hard to consolidate themselves.

“The number one priority is to stay in Division 3, to set ourselves down and see if we can compete at this level. We will have to be on top of our game and get a good start to the league,” he said.

There wasn’t a lot to say about the game itself

“We had a lot of possession in the second half. Conditions were very bad. The goalie couldn’t see out with his kick-outs. It is typical December football with the new rules thrown in on top of it. You can’t read too much into it.”

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