IT was a bitter-sweet experience for Shane Clarke on Sunday. He’s an established member of the squad, but this was his first league start for Carlow. He said it meant a lot but, of course, the result put a huge blot on the day for him.
“I was fairly excited alright. Very disappointed not to get the win. Didn’t deserve to lose by that much. It is a very tight league and we will bounce back,” he said.
It was a day of what-ifs for the Bagenalstown Gaels player.
“We didn’t get the breaks and then the missed penalty. If we had put the penalty away in the first half it would have been a different game. It hit the post. I am sure Daniel will slot the next one away. He had the courage to take it but it wasn’t our day. In the second half we allowed a ball to bounce over the bar (for a Longford point),” Clarke recalled.
Turlough O’Brien didn’t try to make excuses for what was a bad day out for his team.
“We were flat. It was a very poor performance. The players wouldn’t be happy with themselves,” the Carlow manager said.
A missed penalty. A ball hopping over the bar. A soft goal conceded by the Carlow defence in the second half
“Things didn’t go our way. Everything went against us today. You could sense it in the game. Things ran their way today, didn’t run our way. You get days like that.”
He didn’t feel the missed penalty was a turning point.
“There was plenty of time afterwards to redeem ourselves. It was a rocket of a penalty. Back off the post,” he said.
For the second week in a row a high ball in around the small square saw Carlow concede a vital goal. O’Brien didn’t try to make excuses. You can be sure this will be looked at again during the week.
“A high ball. Very sloppy from our point of view. The full-forward was a big strong lad.”
For the second week in a row Carlow finished with 14 players. Sean Murphy’s second yellow for manhandling an opponent trying to slow the game up wasn’t serious, but it was enough for the referee to feel he merited a second yellow. A tad harsh perhaps.
“Frustration. A man lying on the ball and he tried to move him away from it,” agreed Turlough.