NFL Division 4
Antrim v Carlow
Carlow would have been amongst the favourites at the start of the season to be in the promotion chase following their relegation from division 3 last year. The Barrowsiders gained promotion for the first time in 33 years, pipping Antrim in their final game in 2018 but made an immediate return to the basement division after one season.
Turlough O’Brien was the man in charge then and he has held onto the managerial reigns but has come in for some criticism on social media recently over selection and tactics. “It’s a great game when your winning” an old playing colleague of mine once said and football fans can certainly be fickle when things start to go against them.
O’Brien isn’t panicking however ahead of Sunday’s visit to Glenavy and suggested during the week that there could be plenty of twists and turns in this year’s league before promotion places are decided.
Carlow started the present campaign well with a win over neighbours Wicklow but have subsequently lost to Wexford and Limerick so Sunday’s meeting with Antrim is surely a must win for Carlow and defeat would make promotion almost impossible.
Antrim will be confident going into this weekend’s meeting with an old foe that has presented plenty of problems in the past and games between these two have been traditionally tight with little separating them over recent meetings.
Carlow came to Corrigan in March 2018 needing a win to gain promotion and in another tight contest they emerged victorious with a late Darragh Foley goal separating the sides at the end and heralding wild scenes of celebration at the final whistle.
“We had been waiting a long time to gain promotion and to do it that day up in Belfast was great” said Carlow supremo, O’Brien. “We were delighted to come away with the win and if we get the same result on Sunday we’ll be very happy”
Carlow also played Antrim at St. Paul’s back in 2015 and on that occasion a late Broderick free gave them a share of the spoils and Sunday’s game could be just as tight. The weather could well play a part and heavy conditions would probably suit the visitors.
Antrim though have been performing well this year and even in their defeat away to Sligo there were positives but they really need to beat the Barrowsiders this Sunday to keep their bid for promotion on course and will approach this game with confidence but should be wary of the Carlow threat.