Pre-Season is well underway at Carlow College St. Patricks as the players return from a summer away from the pitch to write their wrongs from last season. As they dust off the cobwebs from their boots and step out onto the pitch, there is a murmer around the dressing room that maybe just maybe they can do well this year. The players will be quietly confident and why shouldn’t they be?
They were close but yet so far last season. Two points was all that separated them and a place in the quarter finals of Division Four. They looked promising at times, beating IT Carlow’s Wexford Campus team 6-2 and most who were present cannot forget the thumping 4-0 victory against Cork IT”s ‘D’ team in the first round of the Bob Eustace Cup that will live long in the player’s memories.
There were impressive performances from several players. Daniel O’Keeffe in the heart of the defence was ‘Player of the Year’ as he clattered into opposing strikers time and time again. Adam Colton was top scorer and when he got the ball at his feet, there would be few who would bet against him scoring. Craig Henderson was impressive on the wing as he skipped past opposing full-backs. On the other wing, Columb Sheridan was a constant threat, swinging in crosses that sailed over the heads of opposing centre backs and getting himself into a position to get onto the end of crosses from others. At times, Kevin Anthony was the glue that held the midfield together, the vital link between defence and attack. Daniels Mackey and Greville at full back were constantly bombing up and down the flanks as they sought to stamp their influence on games. Kevin Nolan in goal was often the difference between the two teams, pulling off fine saves to deny opposing strikers.
Under the steady leadership of the Lawler brothers, the team will be quietly confident. Towards the end of last season, they had settled on a lineup which provided both balance and skill. The mixture of these more experienced players in the squad who have the experience of playing college soccer alongside some talented fresh blood fighting for a place in the team will prove key this campaign.
With their first game coming up next Thursday against Athlone IT, coach PJ Lawler is optimistic that they can do well. He says, ‘The team can be very successful. As a small college it is certainly tough competing against colleges who have a lot more students to pick from. I firmly believe that the lads can certainly get out of the group and into a semi final or final and we all know from there anything can happen. Realistically, it will be a success to get out of the group but if we do, the hard work will certainly not stop there.’
He reckons that hard work and an early start will be the key this season. ‘The key to our success this year will be the amount of work that occurs during training. The lads are a very committed bunch, but there certainly needs to be a lot of effort put out on the field. A good start in the group next week will also be important to ensure the confidence remains high and points are on the board from the start.’
With new Jersey sponsorship from Ger Brennan of RelyAbuild and half time refreshments being sponsored by ValuCentre Carlow, Carlow College St. Patricks will be hoping for a successful season.