Wednesday 18 September 2019

Darragh Foley pinpoints club mentality as key factor behind Carlow revival

Darragh Foley says Carlow believe they can get to a Leinster final. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Darragh Foley says Carlow believe they can get to a Leinster final. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Ciaran Gallagher

Darragh Foley claims a clubbing vibe is key to Carlow's recent revival.

The Carlow forward hit home the Barrowsiders' opening goal as they danced their way past Kildare last weekend. That victory marked their first provincial success over the Lilywhites in 65 years.

It followed an opening-round win over Louth and promotion from Division Four of the League as Turlough O'Brien's side rave on through Leinster. And Foley believes a club mentality is why Carlow football is on a high.

He said: "I think the key thing is it's like a club team. It's a club team atmosphere. Every one of the lads is good friends with each other.

"There's no cliques, everyone's a part of the squad, everyone knows what we want to do and what we want to achieve.

"You can really see that in the way we play, we back each other up."

Carlow's victories over Louth and Kildare were perfect examples of the team mentality that O'Brien has nurtured. The Barrowsiders produced upsets on both occasions to defy the bookmakers.

A common theme has been their ability to work the ball into scoring positions and earn frees.

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Dead-ball specialist Paul Broderick nailed nine out of nine kicks while confident Carlow did not kick one wide over the course of their famous victory over Kildare.

Foley explained: "Absolutely, that's a big part of the game when you have a guy like Paul Broderick inside there, who is just a scoring machine.

"He didn't kick any wides, which might be unheard of in Gaelic football at the minute.

"I suppose we felt that we could match Kildare physically, but they were after playing Division One football and it was in the back of our mind - the pace they might bring. But all of the lads stood up to the plate.

"It was seen as another opportunity to take another step and we probably felt that we weren't going to get respect until we took out one of the big teams, a Division One team. We showed that we can mix it with the big lads."

Foley's first-half goal came at a key time last Sunday as he flicked home a long-range Daniel St Ledger delivery just moments after Daniel Flynn had raised a green flag for Kildare.

Flynn found the net after an error from Carlow keeper Robbie Molloy, who later made up for his mistake by saving an Éanna O'Connor penalty.

Of his goal, Foley joked: "We've been working on that in training! With a strike like Ledger's I always try and get on top of the goalie and I got a touch to it.

"We wanted to try and keep it tight and try to frustrate Kildare and then their goal went in.

"But in fairness to Robbie Molloy, he dusted himself down and he saved a penalty right after it, which was a big moment in the match and it gave a bit of momentum to us.

"We said before the game that it was a great chance to get to a Leinster semi-final. Thankfully, we got over the line."

The win now tees up a June 10 last-four date against Laois - the only team to beat Carlow in League or Championship this season.

Foley said: "Laois have had our number the last good few years and they beat us twice in the League.

"So hopefully we'll be able to rectify that now and get to a Leinster final."

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