All change for Carlow

All change for Carlow

Four Carlow players will get their first taste of championship action tomorrow after Paul Bealin named them in his team for the Leinster SFC first round tussle with Meath at Croke Park (throw-in 3.50pm).

For Bealin's first championship match in charge of the Barrowsiders, he has included newcomers Patrick Bambrick, Alan Curran, John Murphy and Daniel St Leger.

Bambrick and Curran are given roles on the left side of defence, Murphy gets the nod at centre-forward and minor star St Leger will be stationed at full-forward.

St Leger comes into the side with talismanic forward Paul Reid out injured. The Palatine clubman has ligament trouble but his condition is improving and he could yet play some part against Meath.

Carlow are also missing interprovincial player Mark Carpenter who picked up an eight-week ban for his red cards against Dublin in the O'Byrne Cup and Wicklow in the National League.

Carlow have never beaten Meath in championship football. This will be their eighth attempt but captain Paul Cashin reckons this is the best prepared they have ever been.

"Everyone within the squad is focused on a good performance. Last year we won one game, this time we won four (in the league) and had a good O'Byrne Cup as well which is obviously progression," Cashin said.

"Likewise Paul hasn't been disillusioned by the early experience. His mantra of a long-term plan has never differed and nobody is expecting instant success.

"It's a culture change really. They've to change the habits of a lifetime. It's changing their attitudes and their mindsets which is the key and once you change that, as fickle as it might seem it'll take a lot of time, you go places."

Cashin, who has played under six Carlow managers in five years, is unsure as to how his side will go in the championship.

The 24-year-old knows they are going in the right direction under Bealin, however.

"This year so far our league and O'Byrne Cup have been successes," he said.

"The championship? We don't know yet. We're improving all the time and I know next year in Division 4 we'll be a better team and have a better understanding."

CARLOW (SFC v Meath): J Brennan; E Doyle, J Hayden, P Bambrick; P Cashin (capt), M Nolan, A Curran; D Burke, P Walsh; B Carbery, J Murphy, B Murphy; E McCormack, D St. Leger, JJ Smyth.

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