Carlow football coach Steven Poacher was on Tuesday’s OTB AM to talk about his side’s disappointing season.
Carlow went out in the first round of the qualifiers after defeats to Meath and Longford. Poacher, along with star midfielder Brendan Murphy and manager Turlough O’Brien, were all suspended for their Championship games after they were banned for ‘threatening conduct’ towards the referee at the end of their loss to Down, which saw them relegated from Division 3 in the league.
While poacher disagrees with the suspensions handed out, he was able to see the funny side of the situation.
“I heard a good one the other day, actually", Poacher began.
"Davy Fitz now has a man to follow him with a video camera, videoing exactly what he says to the fourth official and to the referee. So one of his backroom team video everything he says now.
“I might wear one of those GoPro cameras now and get myself exonerated,” Poacher joked.
However, Poacher did point out more serious incidents that resulted in only minor bans and questioned why the bans that he, O’Brien and Murphy were given were so serious.
“I know Kevin McStay wrote during the week that a man can eye gouge a man and be back the following week and Brendan shows a little bit of emotion and doesn’t even put a single hand on the referee, which we knew was going to decide our faith in Division 3 and he ends up missing a whole season,” Poacher commented.
The Carlow coach did not put their disappointing season down to those suspensions alone, however, citing retaining many of their players as one of the main reasons for the drop in standards.
“Listen lads, it’s a numbers game and there’s no excuses but I’m going to be honest with you. We’re not picking from a massive pool of players, we’ve only seven senior teams in Carlow.
“We lost eight of the team that played against Kildare last year in the Championship. We just don’t have the quality to replace them and that’s no disrespect because there’s a lot of young lads who have come in this year,” Poacher said.
Carlow impressed in last year’s Championship and pulled off arguably one of the shocks of the summer when they beat Kildare in the Leinster quarter-final. Poacher noted that the quality and depth that the panel had in 2018 just was not available to them this season.
“I actually remember an in-house game that we played and we went away for the day last year up to Ballybollen the week before we played Kildare.
“Brendan Rice refereed the game and he said to me, ‘Oh my God, that’s as good a game of football as I’ve seen.’ That’s an in-house game we were playing last year and I think that quality we probably just didn’t have this year,” Poacher explained.