Turlough O’Brien’s side caught Waterford with six unanswered points on Saturday night to keep their promotion dreams alive.
“Carlow have been in the doldrums for a long time,” O’Brien said. “The boys are putting a super effort in on the training field. We know we have plenty of good footballers in Carlow.
“The aim from the start of the year was to try and gain promotion from this division. We are sick of being the whipping boys for everybody so we are trying to get up the table.”
O’Brien wasn’t worried when they kicked nine wides with the wind during the second half. “I thought we were going to get them because we were winning plenty of possession. We were using the ball very well until the final shot. It was just a matter of steadying up and being more economical. They kept their heads and that’s the way they have finished all their games. We were expecting them to finish strongly.”
Waterford led 0-9 to 0-5 with nine minutes left and Tom McGlinchey felt they surrendered the initiative in the crucial final furlong: “With 61 minutes gone, we were up four points and we won a free on our own side and we took it short. After that, we kind of capitulated in the last ten minutes. As I said to them, it’s something that we have to learn from now.”
He hasn’t given up hope of promotion just yet. “There’s four games left in the league and I have seen teams qualify out of this with ten points. It isn’t over and we are not throwing in the towel at this stage.”
In dreadful conditions, Waterford benefitted from the breeze initially and moved five points up at half time (0-7 to 0-2) despite registering ten wides. Carlow made a strong start to the second period with points from Sean Gannon and Daniel St Ledger. Shane Ahearne steadied the hosts with a pair of frees to bring his tally to six points. Carlow continued to plug away despite their wayward shooting. Points through Brian Murphy, John Murphy and Sean Gannon levelled and Waterford were wobbling. Gannon nosed them ahead with a lengthy wind assisted effort on 68 minutes.
Brian Murphy closed it out in a helter skelter finale that also featured blacks cards for Michael O’Halloran and Brendan Murphy.
Scorers for Waterford: S Ahearne 0-6 (5fs); P Hurney, M O’Halloran, M Ferncombe 0-1 each.
Scorers for Carlow: Brian Murphy 0-4 (3fs); S Gannon 0-3; D O’Brien, D St Ledger, C Moran, J Murphy 0-1 each.
WATERFORD: S Enright; D Crowley, R Ó Ceallaigh, T O’Gorman; T Ó hUallacháin, M O’Gorman, C Phelan; S Ahearne, T Prendergast; M Curry, P Hurney, M O’Halloran; M Ferncombe, G Nugent, P Whyte.
Subs: T Grey for Phelan (21); L Lawlor for Nugent (H-T); L Ó Lonáin for Prendergast (52); L Ó Corraoin for Curry (57); O Keevers for Ó hUallacháin (62); JJ Hutchinson for Ó Ceallaigh (66).
CARLOW: C Kearney; BJ Molloy, S Redmond, K Nolan; M Fitzgerald, D St Ledger, B Kavanagh; S Gannon, D Foley; E Finnegan, C Moran, D Bambrick; Brian Murphy, Brendan Murphy, D O’Brien.
Subs: H Gahan for Bambrick (43); D Hayden for Finnegan (53); E Ruth for Foley (55); J Murphy for Moran (58); E McCormack for O’Brien (67).
Referee: D O’Mahoney (Tipperary)