AFTER Sunday’s Walsh Cup defeat to Dublin, the Carlow players and management team were disappointed but still took a lot of encouragement from the way the game unfolded.
After stretching the Dubs in the early stages and easing into a two-point lead, they found themselves trailing by 2-6 to 0-3 midway through the half. The concessions could have knocked the stuffing out of the visitors but they didn’t, as Colm Bonnar pointed out.
“Obviously goals win games but we competed very well in the first 10 minutes. We were 0-3 to 0-1 up and Dublin are at that level where if you take the foot off the pedal or give them an opening… they 2-2 scored. From nine points down we recovered well and got it back to two points. That was encouraging,” the Carlow manager said.
After getting back to within two points, Carlow then conceded another goal. Again they hit back, but not hard enough to catch Dublin again.
“We are working hard. In the first half we had 12 scores to their 11. In the second half we had the breeze and I expected more. They started well. For a long time we were stuck on a few extra points and that is a concern for us. We did bring in subs and that can lose your rhythm and that sort of thing.”
Bonnar accepted Dublin also introduced a plethora of subs and it didn’t affect them as much.
“It is the case, that upset us more than them,” he simply said.
“In the end the game petered out and we couldn’t get into it while they didn’t set the world on fire either.”
Centre-back David English has been down this road with his county before. These games are all about stretching the muscles and preparing minds for league and championship games later in the season.
“It was a lively game. After a tough week’s training, with a week off training over Christmas, the legs were heavy and the bodies were sore. No better way to prepare for the league than to come to Parnell Park to play Dublin,” he said.
Like Bonnar, he agreed the concession of goals killed the Carlow challenge.
“The bit of rustiness and lads getting back playing together, we leaked two early goals. In fairness, the lads dug in and Marty Kavanagh knocked over a few frees and we got a couple of points from play. Then they got a third goal after we had got right back into it. There are positives there despite the scoreline.”