Sheehan’s men primed for crucial Carlow clash

By Shaun Casey

ONE win from their next two outings should be enough to secure a spot in the Division 2A league semi-finals, that’s the belief of Down boss Ronan Sheehan ahead of their round four clash with Carlow this weekend.

Carlow saw off the Mourne men quite convincingly when the teams crossed paths last season in the league while they also held the upper hand come championship time on their way to lifting the Joe McDonagh Cup.

Across those two encounters, Carlow raised 11 green flags and Sheehan believes that if his men can reduce the number of errors that led to goals last season, then they’re in with a chance of upsetting the table-toppers this weekend.

“The league game against them was disappointing because we just didn’t perform but in the Joe McDonagh Cup game we conceded some poor goals,” said Down boss Sheehan.

“But we scored 28 points so we know that we can take scores against them, and we can match them if we cut out the silly goals.

“Carlow are top of the division and they’re in the Liam McCarthy Cup and in my opinion they’re probably the best team in the league.

“It’s a big ask to go down there but we’re targeting two good performances in the next two games and two points.

“We don’t care how we get the two points but if we get them that’ll probably send us through to a league semi-final, but we’re looking for two good performances as

“We’ve performed well in every game we’ve played, and we want to keep that run going.”

Following their opening round defeat to Laois, Down overcame Kerry in round two before earning a share of the spoils against Kildare. Sheehan has been pleased with the performances that his team have served up and where they sit right now.

“We’d be very happy so far,. We’d be a bit disappointed that we didn’t finish the job against Kildare, but we played excellently against Laois and probably if the game had of stayed 15 on 15, I’d argue that we were well positioned to get something from the game.

“We had a really good performance against Kerry, particularly in the second half, and a good performance against Kildare as well in a real humdinger of a match. Both sides will probably feel they left it behind them a wee bit.

“We’ve got three points from three games. The way the league is panning out, if we get two points in the next two games then we’ll make the league semi-final and that would be really good for us,” the Mourne County boss added.

While Down will be confident of giving Carlow a run for their money this weekend, they will be minus a couple of key players.

Caolan Taggart is on his honeymoon while there’s a slight concern over the fitness of Barry Trainor.

Darragh Mallon and John McManus will both be back however having missed the Kildare game and they will bolster Down’s chances.

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