THIS TIME last year in an attempt of support this paper predicted a win in the first round of the O'Byrne Cup against Dublin but what transpired was a spirited team performance as the home team pushed the All-Ireland champions close but ultimately lost out.
It created a fantastic optimism for the National football league but promotion from Division 4 still eludes this current crop of Carlow talent.
2013 is writing a whole new story already and although Carlow's first competitive fixture brings the same opponents as the year before there are wholesale changes everywhere. Both teams, Carlow and Dublin, have new managers with huge ambitions.
When Anthony Rainbow was first ratified as Carlow manager, succeeding Luke Dempsey, his early talk suggested a leap to Division 2 by 2015. That seems a very tall order but with belief and commitment from the group of players that are involved this year it could very well be realistic.
The first step however is this Sunday's clash with Dublin.
No longer All-Ireland champions and with Jim Gavin now at the helm it could be a good time to play the men from the big smoke. With a lot of change no doubt happening at Parnell Park the period of managerial transition might prove tricky for the Dubs.
Our prediction last year was one of hope and belief instead of realistic punditry but this year our prediction will be realistic.
Will Carlow beat Dublin? Probably not. Carlow have played two practice games against Carlow I.T and have been on the losing end twice.
With two almost certain starters playing for the I.T in Conor Lawlor and Sean Gannon and with one or two injury concerns the two losses weren't a disaster but with the same players having to play O'Byrne Cup football with their college teams and the same injury concerns with John and Brendan Murphy both doubtful it doesn't bode well.
That's not to say Carlow can't beat Dublin, for the first time in a long time the majority of the best players in the county are on the county panel, give or take one here and there.
It's a great first test, and it will be very tough, Dublin will probably win comfortably but as always, we must believe.
Verdict: Dublin by 5 but Carlow to turn some heads.