By Kevin Egan
THE last time the Carlow footballers came to Bord na Móna O’Connor Park in Tullamore, they beat Kildare by 2-14 to 1-10 in a memorable afternoon for everyone in the county.
On that joyous afternoon last May, Carlow’s shooting was immaculate, with not a single wide recorded. The story was very different last Sunday with wayward shooting costing them dearly.
Unsurprisingly, that was the key takeaway when manager Turlough O’Brien reviewed the game afterwards.
“I thought Carlow controlled the first half and should have been further ahead at half time. We missed three easy frees at the start of the half as well, and it set a bit of a tone for us, we really should have been pushing on” he told The Nationalist.
“At the same time we were happy enough with our position coming into the break, we felt we’d push on with the wind in the second half. But then the wind died down and to be fair to Offaly, they took their scores well while we kicked some poor wides when the game was in the melting pot.
“You have to take your chances, if you don’t take them, they don’t count!”
Paul Broderick was unstoppable here in May, shooting 0-11, but O’Brien explained how his talisman has been laid low this Spring and that he had no choice but to take him off midway through the second half.
“He’s carrying a calf injury, and it tightened up on him, we had to take him. You wouldn’t take Paul off unless he was injured because he’s always going to score for you, he’s a top class marksman, but he has a persistent calf injury and if we left him on the pitch any longer, he might be out for the rest of the league.
“We haven’t had much of a rub of the green so far in this league and when you consider season on season, last year we didn’t have an injury, this year we’ve been plagued with injuries. That has upset our whole preparations and has carried into the league a bit. But it is what it is, we just have to move on.”
Next on the agenda is a clash with Louth at Netwatch Cullen Park on Saturday evening (7pm), and while this would have looked like one of the more winnable fixtures on paper when the schedule for this league campaign was drawn up, the Wee County’s 5-16 to 0-6 win over Sligo on Sunday has changed the outlook considerably.
“They’re not struggling now, hats off to them, they’ve turned their season around,” said O’Brien.
“They’re in a great position now and they’ll be buoyed up by their result today. We’ve a few days to get over this and we’ve got to get back on Tuesday night and get our heads in gear because we’ve a big battle coming.
“There’s nothing between any of these teams. Teams are taking points off each other and you’ve no idea how anything will go until the day of the match. At this stage, we have to make sure we’re not going to be relegated. We’re out of contention for the top of the table and we’ve got to mind our house now and stay in Division 3 for next year.”