The attitude of the Carlow minor football panel is top notch. So says manager, Damien McMahon, as he looks forward to their opening game of Leinster’s Minor Football Championship on Saturday at Netwatch Cullen Park against Wexford (midday kick off).
“It’s an age group that I would have known well. There is a good distribution throughout the county. They go through the Colt system. You can see the benefits of that and they have a cross-county attitude and that’s something that will benefit the whole county,” McMahon said.
The Palatine man is working on a panel of 32 but this will have to be reduced to 24 for Saturday. Still, the whole team will be on the pitch, regardless of who is selected.
There are two groups of four and one group of three in the competition. Carlow faces Wicklow in their second match in over three weeks. Last year, all inter-county teams faced difficulties due to the pandemic. This year, players were able to settle into a system.
“There is more of a routine for everything. Last year, you could have received a phone call saying that you could return to the field. It was not as structured but this time we are able to work with the players”, explains Damien.
“Last year we based our panel on three test matches in a week. This year we started in November and we got back on the pitch much faster. There is a better structure and this year, we had more practice matches.
McMahon is familiar with the structure of the Carlow miners.
“We managed to make a place for ourselves in the team this year. The guys are looking forward to Saturday.
I would have had the equivalent of the palatine age at less than 12 years old and the latter up to 15 years old. There is a good distribution throughout the county.
He admits he knows little about the opposition, but says that such is the nature of this competition, the counties know very little about each other anyway. For him, it’s about developing the players he has and preparing them for future testing at a higher level.
“After this year, you hope the under-20s will be next. They have a fantastic attitude and then move on to seniors. There is a fantastic montage. The fieldwork Sean Gannon, Robert Sansom, Sham Comerford and more have all these guys tee-shirt ready for when they go minor.
Leinster Minor Football Championship
Group 1: Dublin, Laois, Louth, Westmeath
Group 2: Kildare, Longford, Meath, Offaly
Group 3: Carlow, Wexford, Wicklow.
Round 1 – Carlow v Wexford, Netwatch Cullen Park, Saturday March 19, 12 p.m.
Round 2 – Wicklow v Carlow, April 20