By Kevin Regan
It’s showtime for the Carlow Senior Footballers as they take on Louth in the first round of the Leinster Championship at O’Moore Park in Portlaoise today.
This is the time when all the hard Winter slog should come to fruition and hopefully prove to be worthwhile.
Here are Five things which simply have to happen today in order for Carlow to cause an upset.
1. Win Primary Possession
It’s very simple. In order to win this game Carlow must win Primary Possession in around the middle third.
Brendan Murphy and Sean Gannon have been listed to start at midfield and are more than capable of holding their own.
Louth may be without Paddy Keenan who has hung up the boots, but in James Califf they have an able deputy so its essential that Carlow at least break even in Midfield which they have the potential to do.
2. Stop Conor Grimes
In the League meeting at Netwatch Cullen Park, Louth simply ran riot, with Rangy Full Forward Conor Grimes to the fore.
It’s essential that the Carlow rearguard stay tight on Grimes as he has a serious nack for scoring goals as we seen throughout the League and in the Final in Croke Park against Antrim.
3. Other Forwards Need To Step Up To The Plate
It has been highly evident for a few seasons now that Carlow are heavily dependent on Paul Broderick for scores.
If Carlow are to have any chance of winning then the other forwards will have to start scoring more as Broderick is the obvious target for opposition defences.
Captain Darragh Foley has proven that he is capable of knocking over important scores as we seen in Aughrim against Wicklow, while Chris Blake is accurate providing he gets the right ball in.
It’s a big day too for Ballinabranna man Darren Lunney who is just out of Minor and makes his Senior Championship debut at Wing Forward and he too is deadly accurate.
4. A Big Game From Brendan Murphy
It’s no secret a this stage that Carlow’s most influential player when he’s on song is Rathvilly man Brendan Murphy.
When the sides met in 2011 at the same venue, Brendan was simply sensational and kicked the winning score having nailed a sideline ball moments earlier.
During the league we didn’t see the absolute best of Brendan Murphy and he knows himself that he is capable of much more.
I am in no way saying that Brendan will do it on his own, because nobody is capable of that, but generally when Brendan plays well, everyone plays well and that needs to happen today.
For years Carlow have been lacking in confidence and often a lot of their substandard performances stem from a lack of belief rather than a lack of ability.
Carlow have proven that they can mix it with the best, as we seen in the 2012 draw with Meath, with the Royals going on to lose narrowly that year in the Leinster Final to Dublin.
There is no reason whatsoever that any Carlow man should feel inferior to any other county, particularly Louth who are by no means a footballing stronghold.
If Carlow believe that they can cause an upset then it’s most definitely on the cards.
We Will have Full Live Commentary of Carlow V Louth in the Leinster Senior Football Championship at 5 o clock today on our Carlow frequency and online.