It’s do or die for Carlow Senior Hurlers on Saturday as they take on Mayo at Netwatch Cullen Park, knowing that only a win will keep their competition hopes alive.
Last weekend saw Colm Bonnar’s side lose out to Antrim after holding a commanding position for many periods throughout the tie, but they were pipped by a point after extra time. You can listen back to that game here.
That game was the fourth time this year that Carlow have failed to win a tight game after drawing with Kildare and Antrim in the group stages in the League, while the Saffrons also edged out that League Final win along with last Saturday’s victory.
For me that’s very worrying and until Carlow close out a tight game those question marks will always remain over them.
There’s no doubt that Carlow have a talented squad and we have eluded to that fact several times this year already, so it’s just about closing things out and developing that steely mental toughness.
Last week I felt that Carlow didn’t make changes at a crucial spell midway through the second half when Antrim enjoyed a period of dominance and I thought the withdrawal of James Doyle was quite bizarre.
Okay so Doyle’s radar may have been off once or twice but he is and always will be a threat as we seen in the lead up to Marty Kavanagh’s second goal.
I quite enjoyed looking at both Doyle and Kavanagh playing close to goal and that is a daunting task for even the best of defenders out there.
Once the supply goes in, those two will deliver the goods all day long and I would like to see this happen against the men from the West.
So what of Mayo?
Well last week they were just pipped by a fancied Kildare side who have made inroads this year, so that in itself proves that they are a tough nut to crack.
They also have the one and only Keith Higgins in their ranks, and although he is best known for his footballing exploits, those who follow the game at every level closely know that he is as good if not better at Hurling, so he will take a bit of minding too.
Having said that, this is a game that Carlow really should be winning, but it won’t be handed to them on a plate.
The task will be made a little more difficult with the injuries to Seamus Murphy and Paul Coady but a win should still be well within their grasp.
Throw in is at 3pm in Netwatch Cullen Park on Saturday and we have Full Live Commentary on air and online thanks to Flynn’s Carlow Nissan.