Tuesday 22 October 2019

Bonnar wants more from Carlow after frightening Tribe

STAYING CLOSE: Padraic Mannion of Galway tries to get away from Seán Whelan of Carlow yesterday. Pic: Sportsfile
STAYING CLOSE: Padraic Mannion of Galway tries to get away from Seán Whelan of Carlow yesterday. Pic: Sportsfile

Carlow boss Colm Bonnar has no intention of letting his side become "one-hit wonders" after they pushed reigning champions Galway close in their Leinster SHC opener in Salthill yesterday.

Galway pulled away in the second quarter to earn a 0-14 to 0-8 half-time lead and when Conor Cooney fired a goal within 30 seconds of the resumption, it looked ominous for the Barrowsiders.

Carlow refused to wilt, however, with Marty Kavanagh (who hit 0-11 with five from play) inspirational up front and Chris Nolan replied almost instantly at the other end as they made a real battle of it before eventually coming up six points short.

Few gave Carlow a chance coming in but Bonnar believes there is even better to come ahead of next Sunday's meeting with neighbours Kilkenny and he expects them to leave their mark on the provincial series.

"We battled with them score for score and every time we got it to three points, we needed to get one more score to bring it to two and I felt if we did, it might have just created a bit of doubt in Galway and give us the momentum to do something special," Bonnar said.

"I think the real character showed through when they got their goal and put nine points in it, people thought 'here we go, this is only going one way' but we dug in deep and we got ourselves back in to the game big time.

"It's not a case of coming to make up numbers, we really do want to try and make a mark on it and show that we can compete. It's easy to talk but those lads are able to do it on the field as well and I think there's more in us. We don't know where the ceiling is with this team is. We can't be one-hit wonders in terms of putting up a performance."

Micheál Donoghue's Tribesmen - minus the injured Joe Canning - flattered to deceive and they required Conor Whelan and Cathal Mannion to put the foot on the gas towards the finish. Carlow only trailed by three, 1-21 to 1-18, when Nolan fired over a point in the 62nd minute but that would be their last score.

Whelan (0-4) really stood up when a calming influence was needed and Donoghue is hoping for better when they welcome Wexford to Pearse Stadium on Sunday week.

"We'll take away a lot of learnings. We still have a lot of work to do and a lot to build on for that two weeks," the Galway manager said.

"We're well accustomed to playing Wexford, so they'll come and they'll bring a massive intensity to the game, like they always do, and we know that's going to be a huge challenge.

"They're out next weekend as well so they'll have the game under the belt and then they're travel down here. It's going to be another huge task, but right now we'll just keep the head down in training and look forward to it."




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