AFTER winning the league, Carlow took a step into relative unknown when they faced neighbours, Laois, in the Leinster intermediate championship quarter-final. Previously, Carlow had strolled through the 3A group stages of the Very Camogie Leagues and were only challenged by Armagh in the final whom they beat 0-8 to 0-7.
Laois, on the other hand, were plying their trade in Division 2A so would have been playing tougher games. Losing all their group games, they were never going to make the knock-out stages. So, this was the scenario Carlow faced in the first round of Leinster which threw up the clash of the two Barrowside counties.
Eleanor Treacy, who scored five points against Laois, in the first round of the intermediate recalled the test they faced.
“It started slowly and then it got physical. I felt we had to step up or else it was going to get ugly one sided. It went to the pin of our collar and it was hard on the legs,” she said.
“It is great to win a match but to win a match with character is good.”
Carlow trailed in the second half of that game by five points and came back to force a draw.
“We are good to come back. Sometimes we let ourselves down when we go in front,” said Eleanor.
In the opening minutes of extra-time, her side conceded 1-1 and had to do it all over again. The teams shared six goals at The Training Centre that evening.
Carlow won a battle that evening and Eleanor appreciated the way the unit dug in. The team doesn’t depend on one player. Everyone contributes.
“Ciara Quirke didn’t start and Eibhe Lawler was sharp from the start. We are scoring goals which is good. You can pop a point but something like a goal when you are five points down is heartening.”
While Carlow were pushed to their limits to get past the quarter-final stage, their semi-final opponents had the easiest possible route after they were awarded a walkover by Kildare. Carlow hammered Wicklow in the league putting five goals on them. Form in the league says this will be easy for Carlow who don’t start as favourites in too many games. Expectation is their enemy here now. Not so much from outside but within. That is the challenge facing the Barrowsiders now.
Carlow v Wicklow
Leinster intermediate camogie semi-final
Saturday 13 May
By Kieran Murphy