After the year just past, nobody needs to remind hurling folk that sometimes the stars just fall into place above a particular team.
To varying degrees, it felt in places like Clare, Cork, Limerick, Dublin and Antrim that a hidden hand of destiny was directing their fortunes at times last year.
The sense of something new and special occurring in Carlow hurling has been strong too, with Mount Leinster Rangers becoming the county’s first club to both qualify for a provincial final and then win it.
The problem is, it’s 2014 now, deep in murkiest February, and nobody quite knows if the stardust that fell last year has long since been swept away.
Around the parishes of Borris, Ballymurphy and Rathanna, that contribute players to the Mount Leinster Rangers club, they have good reason to continue to believe in the impossible dream.
With the greatest of respect to Loughgiel Shamrocks, avoiding Portumna or the Munster champions, Na Piarsaigh, in this weekend’s AIB All-Ireland hurling semi-finals was a major stroke of luck.
Captain Edward Coady isn’t about to tempt fate by agreeing with that assertion. But the experienced defender accepted that this could be their once in a lifetime opportunity to qualify for the biggest day in club hurling.
Coady said: “I think the guys realise that these opportunities don’t come around every day. Yes, it may come around again next year, but it may also never come again at all. So there’s one chance.
“We’ve looked at Birr, Newtownshandrum, Athenry, all these fantastic teams winning club All-Irelands and we’ve said, ‘wouldn’t you love to be there. Is there ever a chance that a Carlow team could get there?’ You’d have to be straight and say, ‘I don’t think so’.
“But it’s amazing what a little bit of success and some breaks along the way and a bit of momentum can do. Next thing, you’re in the last four.”
Coady, Carlow’s captain last year, says it has helped that opponents have probably underestimated them too. He hopes the same thing will happen again on Saturday in Newry as 2012 All-Ireland winners Loughgiel will be favourites.
The northerners should be aware, though, that Mount Leinster Rangers believe this is their time.
Coady said: “We’ve always had a very good balance in our team but, at the moment, the balance is very good.
“We have a lot of young guys coming in who just know nothing but success.
“We have a lot of elder guys in the team who know a lot of heartache. You try to marry the two of them and you get that hardness then that you need to win these type of hard games.
“For sure, the last games of any competition are going to be the hardest to win. But we have to back ourselves against anyone.”
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