Tipperary game is vital
THE O'BYRNE CUP was used by Anthony Rainbow to experiment with his style of play with his new crop of players.
Some will say they O'Byrne Cup experiment went well with a decent victory over Wicklow the main highlight while a positive performance against Dublin comes a close second and the loss to DCU was hopefully the last of the January cobwebs in the Carlow closet.
It's now clear that the Carlow system will be to deploy a forward as a seventh defender in attempt to crowd out the opponent in the middle of the field.
The big question ahead of the game with Tipperary on Sunday is which player will play that role.
The most likely candidates are Ray Walker and Derek Hayden, however it seems Hayden will hold down the centre back position leaving Walker the man to take up the spare man role.
One of the fittest men on the panel Walker is a fine footballer and the role suits his style.
Looking ahead at Tipperary though and it's hard to imagine a tougher test for Carlow for an opening game.
The Premier boys are just down from the division the Scallionaters want to get to and if the Carlow men can't pull off a victory, even away from home, it would say a lot about where Carlow are as a team.
However, the hard work that has been put in over the last few months and after a weekend away for bonding in Wexford there is a strong current in Carlow that a win in Tipperary sets up Carlow for a potentially massive year.
Two home games follow the Tipp encounter and hence a win would give Carlow a huge boost against London and Leitrim in the games that follow.
Brian Murphy has been named as the captain for the 2013 season while goalkeeper Trevor O'Reilly will be his lieutenant and the Tinryland man is looking forward to the year:
"Really looking forward to the game now. training has been going great and lads are just itching to get going," said O'Reilly
The net minder has some serious competition for his place this year with Andy O'Brien and Craig Kearney both doing well in the O'Byrne Cup.
"That's what its all about, competition in every position. It can only be good for Carlow," insists Trevor.
The Tinryland man also revealed that he was delighted to be named vice captain.
"Oh yes, big time, delighted to be named vice captain, but I'm delighted for Brian too, he's a great voice in the dressing room and everyone listens to him".
Daniel St. Ledger is another Carlow man looking forward to the national league.
"There's a great effort being put in so far, we've really bonded and something is building, we're just going to have to take it one game at a time," said the Kildavin man.
The hopes of promotion from Division 4 rest for now on this first game with Tipperary but if ever a Carlow team is going to win promotion, if ever a man is going to lead them there, it's this team being lead by Anthony Rainbow.
Its a very simple verdict: Carlow - must win. Carlow's NFL fixtures: February 2nd: Tipperary v Carlow February 16th: Carlow v London March 3rd: Carlow v Leitrim March 10th: Limerick v Carlow March 16th: Offaly v Carlow March 24th: Clare v Carlow March 31st: Carlow v Waterford