Carlow got their first point on the board with a hard-fought point against Wicklow in Round 1 of the National Football league in Netwatch Cullen Park on Saturday last.
It took an injury time free from Shane O’Neill to share the spoils for the Carlow men.
Wicklow started the game the faster with a goal on the scoreboard with just one minute on the clock. Carlow may have started slowly but they grew into the game and at one point in the first half had a lead over their opponents. The visitors kept a slender lead going into the break leading 2-6 to 2-5.
Carlow were dealt a blow early in the second half when Conor Doyle was sent off for a second yellow card, having picked up his first one in the first half. Carlow rallied later on, but it took that late Shane O’Neill point to come to the county’s rescue in injury time. A pulsating final ten minutes created a chance to win it with a late free from Darragh Foley deep in injury time but it just tailed off wide for a full-time score of Carlow 2-10, Wicklow 2-10.
The result leaves Carlow in third, with Wexford and London having played to a draw on Saturday while Leitrim and Laois had wins over Waterford and Sligo respectively.
After the game Carlow manager, Niall Carew told KCLR “Our boys dug deep, especially for the second half. Playing with 14 men in a counter-attacking game is always going to be tough but our lads did very well. We probably created way more chances than Wicklow in the second half we just didn’t put them away”.
Asked about the red card to Conor Doyle, Carew said “I thought it was a bit harsh. I thought the referee didn’t do anyone any harm tonight, he was very fair and Conor was probably a bit unlucky that he happened to be right beside the referee for a couple of his fouls. He has to learn from that and just to be a little bit more clever”.
Carew now puts his focus on a much-needed win for Carlow this weekend as they try to keep their promotion hopes alive.
Niall told KLCR’s Robbie Dowling “it’s a big game against Waterford next week, from here on in every game gets bigger and bigger so we’ll see how it goes and we expect to perform again, and if we perform we shouldn’t be too far away”.
Carlow will take on Waterford in SETU Arena in Carriganore at 5pm on Saturday evening.