There are two mouth-watering semi-finals for Carlow football supporters to look forward to tomorrow live on KCLR.
First up at 12.30pm, 2014 champions Rathvilly take on the last winners of the county championship prior to Éire Óg in the form of 2016 winners Palatine.
Then, heavy underdogs Mount Leinster Rangers take on an Éire Óg side going in search of their fourth county title in-a-row.
Read below to find out what the Rathvilly manager Pat Ryan had to say.
Rathvilly manager Pat Ryan
The opening game of the day promises to be a tight affair between 2014 champions Rathvilly and 2016 champions Palatine.
Pat Ryan said that despite the natural nerves, his Rathvilly team are looking forward to the game.
“There’s a huge excitement for this game. We’re a bit nervous which is natural and just makes you play better but we are really looking forward to the game tomorrow.”
Ryan is calling on his previous championship winners to use their experience as they look to steer Rathvilly to another county decider.
“The experience of players who have won championships is absolutely crucial in games like these to help the players that have not been in this position before.”
He also believes that playing the 2020 championship one year one is a strange situation, but it won’t act as a deterrent for all four teams.
“I think it’s a very unique situation to be in and there’s no doubt that everyone will bring their A-game tomorrow and that the remaining four teams are in this to win it,” said Ryan.
Like all of the managers, Ryan feels that the return of supporters is nothing but a positive for each team and for the GAA in general.
“Both sets of supporters bring a high energy level to the game, and everyone involved loves to hear the roar of the crowd. I expect there will be a great atmosphere created in the stadium tomorrow.”
Unfortunately, we were not able to get in touch with Palatine joint-managers Paul and John Reid.
Following the clash of Rathvilly and Palatine, reigning champions Éire Óg take on Mount Leinster Rangers. Find out what their managers said below.
Mount Leinster Rangers manager Johnny Nevin
Mount Leinster Rangers come into tomorrow evening’s fixture with Éire Óg as firm underdogs.
Despite the unenviable task in front of them, manager Johnny Nevin knows that his players will give their all as they go in search of a first ever senior championship.
He said: “They’re a very ambitious bunch of players and they have a real hunger. I know that they’ll leave everything on the pitch tomorrow whatever the result is at the end of the day.”
Nevin also spoke about the importance of playing football consistently in a club that is predominantly associated with hurling.
“We have a lot of very good footballers. The more football we play without any interference from hurling, the more we improved both as individuals and as a unit.”
The Mount Leinster Rangers manager is embracing the underdog tag bestowed upon his team.
“Éire Óg are the benchmark in Carlow football.
“We’ll be carrying the underdog tag and rightly so. We’re under no illusions as to the challenge ahead but our lads will give it a proper go tomorrow and that’s all you can ask for.”
He gave one final word for the supporters who will be travelling to Netwatch Cullen Park.
“It’s most important that people can get out to watch games. People just want to get back out there again and I’m sure we’ll see big crowds for both games at Netwatch Cullen Park tomorrow.”
Éire Óg manager Joe Murphy
Éire Óg are going in search of their fourth consecutive county title having previously been crowned champions in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
Manager Joe Murphy insists that it is strange that they are going for four-in-a-row when they should potentially be going for their fifth title in as many years. That is not the case as the 2020 championship is being completed following its suspension due to Covid-19 last year.
“It’s all a bit unusual because it’s planted in the middle of the season. All bets are off when it comes to favourites tags because I don’t think anyone knows where they are at due to the delay.”
Murphy is also of the opinion that the deserved recent success will be irrelevant come throw-in on Sunday.
“The last few years the players have got what they deserved for the work that they have put in.
“That means nothing now though and we have to be ready for a tough game against Mount Leinster Rangers tomorrow.”
The Éire Óg manager stressed that the crowd could have an impact in a game of this magnitude.
“Just to have that buzz around the grounds again makes a hell of a lot of difference.
“Hopefully our players will feed off that and that the people of Éire Óg will come out Sunday evening and give us the boost that we need.”
He is playing down his team’s favourites tag, stating that tomorrow’s opponent’s will provide a stern test for the county champions.
“We know that we have to be at our best tomorrow if we want to have a chance of beating Mount Leinster Rangers. Form goes out the window when you’re talking about a semi-final.”