It’s a must win game for Carlow Rugby Club this Sunday as they play their last scheduled league game in Division 2A away to Railway Union in Park Avenue at 3pm.
Carlow’s bonus point 49-0 win over bottom of the table Athboy last week has brought them to 45 points. Railway Union, who missed out on a bonus point in their 13 – 7 win in New Ross on Sunday, are on 48 points.
In this Sundays game, Carlow need to beat Railway Union and stop them getting a losing bonus point, if they are to leapfrog them into the second place promotion play-off spot.
To stretch the possible permutations even further, should Carlow achieve a bonus point win against Railway Union and League Leaders Portlaoise gain nil point in their final game in Newbridge, then Carlow would catapult into 1st in the table and achieve automatic promotion.
But that’s probably dreamland for the Carlow team and followers even if Newbridge have been helped recently by soldiers returning from overseas duty.
It is now that Carlow will rue the points dropped in December and January against sides such as Edenderry and Newbridge. If Carlow had taken their chances in these games they would now be table toppers.
Also last weekend, only two of the nine tries were converted, so if similar kicking stats were to be repeated this weekend, Carlow could wave goodbye to their hopes for promotion.
Coach Padraig Brennan hopes to be able to select from a nearly full hand but Kiwi Thomas Ratahi will be absent for a wedding in New Zealand.
Carlow’s Junior 2 side also travel to Railway Union on Sunday. They are second in their league table but their promotion will depend on what happens to Carlow Junior 1 side.
Looking further ahead to Sunday 20th March next Carlow will face neighbours Tullow in the first round of the Leinster Town’s Plate. This is another game that both Clubs will be anxious to win.
With thanks to John Shirley.