One of the Carlow Senior football championship quarter-finals to catch the eye this weekend is the meeting of League champions Eire Og and slight favourites Palentine at Dr. Cullen Park throw in at the later time of 5.30pm.
Eire Og, due to some adventures League form, were widely tipped to breeze past most of the opposition at the beginning of the championship but a series of injury’s to prominent players such as Mark Kelly, Paul Cashin, Alan Callinan and Captain Christy Bolger has seen the team struggle for form. Due to the injury crisis it’s been hard to get a settled team together and seven of the team have been away on county duty which has hampered preparations for the championship latter stages.
But it’s not all doom and gloom as the side possess a tough defence and the return of mid-field pairing Murtough Ware and Eoghan Ruth have boasted morale in the squad. The side have started slowly in previous rounds, coming from eight points down to beat Leighlin in the last round and, they will have to buck this trend if they are to have a serious chance of qualifying for the semi-finals.
Palentine might be the bookies favourites to come on top in the game but locals and team members cite this weekend’s opposition as a bogey team and would much prefer any other opposition. However, Palentine’s mid-field pairing of Niall Ried and Joe Byrne are imposing and influential figures in the team and if they are on form they are virtually impossible to stop and mark out of the game.
Injuries have hit Palentine as well but not to the same extent as Eire Og. Jason Kane is out while Paul and Brian Farrell are doubts. Prominent forwards John Reid and Brian Kelly should be back to their best and the paying publics can expect a high scoring, tantalising affair.