Ruth: We have turned things around
The reminders of Carlow's largely miserable recent history in the football championship weren't missed by Eoghan Ruth as he flicked through the match programme before last Sunday's clash with Louth.
Those results reminded him that more often that not, they found themselves on the wrong side of a handsome tally, but that wasn't how things had been for him at the start.
Ruth joined the panel in 2011 and played as they stunned the Wee men that summer, who less than a year earlier had played in a Leinster final. That was Carlow's first win in Leinster in five years and Ruth assumed the good times would roll from there. He learned quickly they wouldn't. Just two years ago, Carlow went down by 10 points to Louth.
So when they were on the right side of the result in Portlaoise on Sunday, Ruth and his team-mates were determined to enjoy it.
"That (2011) was my first year on the panel and I was thinking when we did get the win that this was great and it would happen every year. I learned the hard way it didn't and we were on the receiving end of a lot of beatings. Some of them were (in Portlaoise).
"We played Louth a couple of years ago and got a big beating from them. Even in the (match) programme there I was looking at it and there was some big beatings but I was confident that things have changed for us.
"We have turned it around. In fairness to Turlough (O'Brien, manager) he gave us confidence, got us set and to take the game seriously and prepare well and recover well and we are delighted."
Carlow went down in the Division 4 final and suffered another blow when star Brendan Murphy opted out of the panel. Ruth agreed that defeat knocked them off their stride.
"We'd have liked to win both days against Laois, especially in Croke Park you'd like to win and get the trophy and I suppose it did knock the steam out of us a bit.
"But we were confident because it was the only competitive game we had lost in a long time.
"We know it works for us what we are doing and we didn't see any fault in it, so why would we change the way we were going?"
Carlow are rising. While others are opting out of the county scene, Ruth and Carlow keen to pull everything they can from their rich vein of form.
"There's a lot of people giving out about inter-county and a lot of lads saying they don't like the inter-county game and they don't get anything from it. We get everything we want from it, it's a really good group, we really enjoy it."
They now turn their attentions to facing Kildare in a Leinster SFC quarter-final.
"It will be a huge step up but it will be a day we will relish," he said.
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