Carlow face-off with Meath in the opening round of the Joe McDonagh Cup this Saturday at 2pm.
The 2 sides met just 4 short weeks ago in the Allianz Hurling League where Carlow were very fortunate to come away with a win.
Were it not for Marty Kavanagh’s exceptional performance, scoring 16 points, 3 of those coming from play, Carlow may have been in a much more vulnerable position.
KCLR commentator, Terrence Kelly pointed out that Carlow’s go-to men Kavanagh and Chris Nolan accounted for just over 80% of their scores.
“Chris Nolan scored 2 goals and between them, the 2 biggest names in the county, they scored 2-16 out of 2-21.”
Kelly is not too concerned that many of those scores came from placed balls.
“To a certain extent, you would be worried but you have to look at their ability to win those frees”.
Carlow may have gotten the better of Meath in the League but The Royals can never be underestimated.
They were relegated this year but only a puck of a ball prevented that same fate for Carlow.
“Meath Hurling has come on a lot. They have gone down but I can assure you, they will be back next year.”
Working the ball up the field as opposed to going long has become a major feature of the modern game. While teams like Waterford and Cork have mastered it, it can sometimes backfire.
This is something Carlow will have to consider as they kick off their Joe McDonagh campaign on Saturday.
Kelly was skeptical of this particular tactic as he reflected on the dolmen county’s last encounter with Meath.
“There were 3 scores given away in the first half. When a pass goes astray, it can be tipped over the bar or a player may have to be pulled down”.
“You won’t get scores without the ball. When you have forwards with the caliber of Chris and Seán Murphy and John Michael and Marty, why wouldn’t you send the ball down”.
“A good start is vital and hopefully it can happen but it’s not going to be simple.
Scoreline will have full coverage of that game live from 2pm on Saturday.