Mount Leinster Rangers manager Johnny Nevin is under no illusion as to how big a challenge his side face on Sunday in the Michael Lyng Motors Carlow Senior Football Championship Semi-Final against Eire Og (Throw-in 3.30pm, full live commentary on KCLR).
Regarded as relative minnows in footballing circles, Nevin’s men face the unenviable task of dethroning four-in-row county champions Eire Og and come into the game as heavy underdogs.
Despite having the underdog tag firmly placed on them by most people across the county, Nevin feels his team are well prepared for the game.
“We’re looking forward to what will be a very difficult game for us. We have had five games in the last six weeks and that is very important. “
“It has given us great preparation and it has allowed us to progress as the year has gone on,” Nevin said.
Mount Leinster Rangers struggled at the start of the championship with disappointing defeats to Sunday’s other semi-finalists Bagenalstown Gaels and Rathvilly.
Since then, the club famous for its hurling exploits have been unbeaten having returned to form and Nevin was insistent that injuries were key to their slow start.
“We struggled at the start because we had four or five injuries from the hurling team. We have a small panel and that was tough for us to take and was a major reason for losing against Rathvilly and Bagenalstown Gaels.
“But we are back to where we want to be now and I’m happy with how the players have applied themselves over the last month or so.”
Their knockout stage victories against Ballinabranna and most recently against Palatine saw Mount Leinster Rangers return to the semi-final stage for the second consecutive season.
Nevin broke down what they will have to do to go one step further than they did in 2020.
“The victories against Ballinabranna and Palatine were really good performances as well as really good results.
“We know that we have to put in our best performance of the year tomorrow, however, because Eire Og are the best team in the county.
“We need to start strong and stay in the game for as long as we possibly can. We’ll take it in stages. “
Nevin was full of praise for his well-travelled side having been embroiled in the latter stages of both the hurling and football championships.
“When you get to the semi-finals of any competition, you are going to meet some really stellar teams. But the lads are a great bunch of players who never give up.
“I think they’ve been playing non-stop for 12 weeks now between the hurling and the football, but they just stay going and that’s a testament to them as people as much as anything.”