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Carew's Carlow have to hit the ground running

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Ger Brennan has linked up with Niall Carew in the Carlow set-up

Ger Brennan has linked up with Niall Carew in the Carlow set-up

SPORTSFILE

Ger Brennan has linked up with Niall Carew in the Carlow set-up

It's hard to imagine a more difficult scenario to walk into the one Niall Carew has inherited in Carlow.

But having figured his days of managing county teams were behind him, he can't wait to get started.

"I had kind of resigned myself that I was finished to be honest with you," said Carew, who has been in charge of the Waterford and Sligo teams, while he also served as a selector under Kieran McGeeney in Kildare.

"And then the pandemic, it recharged my batteries because there was nothing happening. The chance came with Carlow to meet them, and I did, and that really energised me, the chairman Sean Campion and the rest of the panel. It rolled from there and I'm really energised now and want to put in a big shift on it. There's a massive body of work to be done to try and bring them on … that's the goal."

The issues he faces are unavoidable and the product of the unprecedented times in which we live. While the rest of the managers in the country have seen their players in competitive action on five occasions this year, Carew has yet to meet his squad.

And he won't have them all together until less than a week before they are due to return to league action, at home to Sligo on October 17/18. That's down to the county SFC final being scheduled to take place the weekend before.

And even when he does gather his full panel, he's unlikely to be afforded the luxury of a second league game as Carlow's round seven match has them down to face London in Ruislip. At this point, it seems unlikely the GAA will sanction putting a squad on a plane.

Still, Carew insists there will be no excuses, pointing out that every team will have hurdles to overcome.

"We are where we are," he said.

"It is going to be tough for us. To prepare for the Sligo match it is going to be a week (lead in). Lads will only have finished their county final which will be part of your body of players which is the same as any other county.

"But it will give an opportunity to other players and we will have a look at them. The game against London I suppose it's 99 per cent sure it won't go ahead so we only have the Sligo game as a competitive game before we play Offaly in the championship so it is going to be a big ask.

"At the same time, there will be absolutely no pressure on us, the shackles will be off and lads are trying to impress. We could still be dangerous."

Carew hopes to confirm the rest of his team in the coming days, but former Dublin star Ger Brennan is on board as coach.

The pair have a long-standing relationship with Carew having managed Brennan in Maynooth university at both fresher and Sigerson cup levels.

With a short lead in time and the likelihood of just one competitive game before championship, they'll have to hit the ground running. And with every other county board, budgets are set to be slashed.

However, Carew will do everything he can to make sure his players have the best set up possible.