Allianz NFL Round 2
Carlow did what was expected of them in round 2 of the National League on home soil under light in Netwatch Cullen on Saturday evening. An expected win, an expected margin of victory. The expected is what keeps you on the promotion trail, the unexpected will be what separates you from the rest – good or bad.
This victory complimented a positive away win last weekend and the good crowd present were entertained with some excellent football and scores.
Right from the throw in, the intent was evident in Carlow's play. A long early delivery to Darragh Foley on the 14 was gathered in true Foley style and he duly dispatched his mark with ease. Waterford had some early pressure but resolute Conor Doyle defending snuffed out the danger.
Turnovers like these were plentiful in the game for the home side and this appetite for work will have pleased manager Niall Carew no end over the 70 minutes.
Carlow's movement and use of the ball through the hands and with foot passes was always positive with the first option always looking for that forward pass or a man off the shoulder.
Colm Hulton hit the first of his 4 points after 9 minutes from 30 metres out after cutting in from the left wing. Hulton looked razor sharp throughout his 50 minutes and his work rate combined with natural scoring ability make him a major threat.
Young Askea man John Phiri benefitted from a slick Ross Dunphy hand pass to open up the Waterford defence and pop over a point, as Carlow turned over the visitors kick out once more. Phiri was busy throughout and he has really repaid the trust given to him with his start.
Jason Curry popped over a good Waterford reply to make it 3-1 after 11 minutes after a good advantage following a foul on William Beresford. A missed Carlow tackle then allowed a 2nd score in a row for the visitors as Stephen Curry curled over a nice left foot shot. Carlow continued to dominate the play and good interplay by Amond and Foley put Jordan Morrissey clear on the 21 and he put Carlow into a 4-2 lead.
On 17 minutes Waterford narrowed the gap to the minimum when Jason Curry benefitted from a turnover to hit a nice score which was a nice tonic as the had a 13m free trail wide in the previous play. Carlow needed a reply to make their good work show on the board and Hulton duly obliged as he hit the after burners, jinked the hips and curled over to make it 5-3 with 20 minutes gone. J
ust 3 minutes later Ross Dunphy got off the mark-with a mark. A good foot pass from Niall Hickey found Dunphy on the 21m line and he dispatched with ease to bring the lead out to 3. Waterford worked the resultant kick out up the field and following a late Carlow tackle, Jason Curry pointed the resulting free to make it 6-4. The sides the traded scores with a fisted Morrissey point cancelled out with a free by Curry yet again – moved to the 14m line for dissent.
At 7-5 with 29 minutes gone, Waterford would have been very pleased with their lot as Carlow were dominant and only the concession of some “soft” frees keeping the game close. But in the remaining 6 minutes Carlow were to hit for 1-2 and effectively kill the visitors challenge.
Goal chances call for cool heads and when Jamie Clarke was fed the ball on the 14m line he had a bit to do despite being in front of goal. As Paudie Hunt advanced, he cooly placed it neatly with his right foot low into the corner. The move again coming from positive and aggressive Carlow play.
2 scores by Old Leighlin teammates Mikey Bambrick and Aaron Amond in the 33rd and 35th minutes respectively closed out the half to leave it 1-9 to 0-5 at the interval.
The 2nd half opened exactly as the first did – a long direct ball to the edge of the square to Foley, a great fetch but this time he spun it wide. Foley is such a target in there and like all great fielders, he has a lot of the hard work done with his body positioning before he ever had to get off the ground. He hit 4 points on the night but will be disappointed, because of his high standards, with the 4 wides he struck – you can’t make omelette’s without breaking eggs we suppose!
Foley though was instrumental in Carlows opening score of the half as a turnover and a smart Foley pass allowed Hulton to open up an 8 point lead with 37 mins on the clock. Jason Curry from play this time and Conor Crowley swapped the next 2 scores to leave it 1-11 to 0-6 on the 40 min mark.
Carlow responded well and Foley played a one-two from a 50m free to open a shooting position for himself which he converted and a minute later Hulton got the last of his 4 points with a beauty off his left from the 21.
Little moments in games often give a glimpse into the mindset of a team. With 47 mins gone on the clock and Carlow cruising with a 9 point lead (1-13 to 0-6), a nothing ball spun loose underneath the stand. It was 70/30 in favour of a Waterford player winning possession but John Phiri leaped across, body on the line, and got his hand to disrupt the play and concede a line ball. No surrender, nothing easy, was obviously the motto.
Phiri and Hulton had put in 2 great shifts and both were replaced not long after as Carlow emptied their bench. Waterford hit something of a purple patch and outscored Carlow 3-1 in the next 8 mins to leave it 1-14 to 0-9. Carlow continued to be positive and a massive Dunphy turnover with 10 mins to go, resulted with a foul on him and Foley had an easy tap over.
Waterford were then reduced to 14 as midfielder Michael Curry picked up his 2nd yellow card after him and Jordan Morrissey got tangled up when awaiting a kick out. Eric Molloy had Carlows second goal chance as the game ticked into added time but his stinging shot from 14m was easily saved. Fellow sub Cormac Lomax popped over a point on the 73rd minute to open his account.
Carlow continued to push hard and the extra man allowed overlaps to open up around the pitch. Quick hands by Bryan McMahon and Amond, gave Dunphy a glimpse of goal but his close range shot from a very tight angle was turned around the post for a 45 which Conor Doyle drilled over the bar.
Doyle became Carlows 11th different scorer on the night with his well struck point to open the lead out to 11, and soon after ref Clarke blew the full time whistle.
Carlow will take a lot of positives from the game. Their play was positive and in their 2 games to date they have hit 19 (3-10 v Tipp) and 20 points (1-17) which is impressive and much needed if you are to match the division favourites.
A good spread of scorers shows an air of confidence but also shows the quality and aggressive nature of players runs and the vision to spot them. They will look to other positives such as the high quantity of turnovers they made also as they face into a 2 week break before facing Laois in a massive game with both teams 2/2.
Manager Niall Carew will look to some of the easy fouls they gave away particularly in the first half inside their 45 as an area to tidy up but is surely very happy with the opening 2 rounds work from his charges to date.
Carlow: C Hulton 0-4, D Foley 0-4 (mark 2fs), J Clarke 1-0, J Morrissey 0-2, A Amond, M Bambrick, R Dunphy (mark), C Crowley, C Lomax, J Phiri, C Doyle (45) 0-1 each.
Waterford: J Curry 0-5 (3fs), C MacCraith, T O’Connell, S Curry, A Dunwoody 0-1 each
Carlow: C Cunningham; C Byrne, M Furey, D Curran; J Clarke, M Bambrick, A Amond; N Hickey, C Doyle; C Hulton, J Morrissey, R Dunphy; J Phiri, D Foley, C Crowley. Subs: S Clarke for Phiri (50), C Lomax (0-1) for Hulton (52), K Murphy for J Clarke (56), E Molloy for Crowley (62), B McMahon for Morrissey (67).
Waterford: P Hunt; R Browne, L Fennell, C McCarthy; R McGrath, C O Cuirrín, D Ryan; J Keane, M Curry; J Curry, S Whelan Barrett, B Hynes; S Curry, W Beresford, A Dunwoody. Subs: C Walsh for Keane (h/t), C Mac Craith for McGrath (42), T O’Connell for Hynes (45), B O’Keeffe for Whelan Barrett (50), D Fitzgerald for O Cuirrín (64).
Referee: Pat Clarke (Cavan)