By Kieran Murphy
DAVID English has been through thick and thin with both club and county. Sunday was a new experience for him. He has been hit with many early scores but when the greats of the game do it, there is no way back.
“It was a learning experience. We weren’t ready for the start. Kilkenny hit us really hard in the first few minutes. You watch it on TV, go to their games but it never sinks in until you play them. That is the reality. That is the bar they have set over the last 20 years and it is up to us to get up there,” said the Ballinkillen man.
Carlow lived on small bites in that first half but at times those tasty bits turned to crumbs. English said they should have scored more than three points in the first half.
“We hit four balls into the keeper’s hands. We hit four wides. Get half of those and you are going in looking a little bit better,” the centre back insisted.
In the second half with the job done Kilkenny only turned the knife when they had to. Carlow continued to play their own game.
“Credit to everyone, we outscored them in the second half. There are positives but you have to look at the Galway game last week where we were asleep at times in the first half. The same thing happened today,” said English.
Just like the rest of his colleagues the centre-back saw at first-hand how Kilkenny players work as a team.
“They seem to have a system and everyone follows that system. When the ball goes dead they all seem to know their role. It was a learning experience for sure.”
Midfielder Jack Kavanagh agreed with those sentiments.
“We were caught in the headlights and Kilkenny are ruthless. They gave us a big mountain to climb in the second half.
“We spoke about not letting the occasion get to us. We probably won’t get any respect until we beat one of these top teams and we haven’t done that yet. Moral victories are a thing of the past,” said Kavanagh who is hoping they can get something out of their last two games.
“Now it is Dublin. So it will be all guns blazing there. We plan to give it our all and hope we turn up.”