A quarter-final showdown with Carlow in Portlaoise on Saturday evening should be a veritable stroll for seven-in-a-row Leinster title chasing Dublin, but after Waterford ran Cork mightily close Jim Gavin’s side are unlikely to be taking anything for granted.
Sky Sports GAA pundit and former Tyrone All Ireland winner Peter Canavan added a further note warning in his column, saying that although Carlow manager Turlough O’Brien and coach Stephen Poacher face a huge challenge, “they [Carlow] are well organised and on a high from beating Wexford”.
Carlow overcame the Model County 2-17 2-13 in Leinster’s opening round with Brendan Murphy striking an injury-time goal to secure victory at Dr Cullen Park, while Paul Broderick contributed 0-10 (5f). Not the sort of result that would raise many eyebrows in Dublin, but for Carlow it was a first win in Leinster since 2011.
While Dublin is a daunting task, the Barrowsiders have simply nothing to lose against a Dubs side who have lifted Sam four times in the past six years.
“All we can do is try and really, really refine what we feel we’re good at, and stop what they’re good at,” said Carlow star man Paul Broderick.
“Look, we’ll give it a go. I’m under no illusions as to how difficult a task it will be and how it may not happen but we’ll certainly give it a go and give it everything.
“We’ve a good management team there now. Like I said there was no stone unturned.”
Carlow in contrast finished third in Division 4 – one point behind promoted Wexford despite a Round 7 ten-point win over the Model County – and last year were knocked out of Leinster at the Preliminary stage by Louth, before going out to Cavan in Round 2 of the qualifiers.
“Carlow being such a small county and it has hurling and football there is always going to be a couple of footballers that the hurlers would like to have and vice versa,” said Broderick.
“Give or take one or two, we probably have everyone that we’d like to have in there so that’s probably the first year ever that I have been involved in that I can say that.”
It’s manager Turlough O’Brien whom Broderick credits with the upturn in Carlow’s fortunes.
“Turlough is local he has a massive knowledge of Carlow football and Carlow players and lads have responded very well to him,” he added.
“The mood in the camp is good at the moment and generally around Carlow the spirits are lifted because it doesn’t come around too often. It hasn’t come around too often for us so it’s been good.
“There has been no stone left unturned in Carlow to try and get the best team out and trying to get the best out of the lads who are there and I’d certainly say that it’s the best set-up that I’ve ever been involved in anyway.”
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