Carlow warm up nicely for Antrim
HE'S A serious man. That's the opinion Carlow followers have made of new hurling manager John Meyler.
The Wexford native has been putting Carlow's hurlers through their paces ahead of the 2013 season and those in the know say Meyler could be the man to help Carlow progress in the Leinster championship.
A tough test against Leinster champions Kilcormac Killoughey at the weekend shows the intent of this panel to improve yet again despite two Christy Ring medals resting in many of their pockets.
Rumours had surfaced within the county that some players hadn't offered to commit to the new regime but by the first week in January that seemed to be all water under the bridge.
Carlow took on the Kilkenny U-21s in a challenge game last Tuesday night in Myshall and lost out by four points but that Kilkenny team contested an AllIreland final only three months ago and between that game and the clash with the Leinster champions the side have had two great tests.
Their first game in the Walsh Cup against Antrim provides Carlow with very interesting opponents. Their former boss Kevin Ryan has taken over the northerners and would no doubt love to prove his decision to leave Carlow to have been the right one.
The teams have come full circle in the last 10 years. Who remembers a young Eoin Nolan playing in Croke Park as Antrim inflicted a heavy defeat on the scallionaters? Fast forward to present day and new names like Ross Smithers, Marty Kavanagh and Paul Coady are the youngsters making the breakthroughs for club and county and Carlow will enter the battle possibly as favourites despite a disappointing championship run in 2012.
Winning the league last year was hopefully the foundation for even more success in 2013.