Carlow's minors got back on track in the Electric Ireland Leinster Minor Football Championship last night with a 0-10 - 0-10 draw against Laois in Portlaoise.
Laois were strong favourites for the game, having already beaten Longford and Wexford in their first two games, while Carlow were heavily beaten to Kildare in their only outing before last night.
In fact, that game, played last Wednesday, attracted significant attention because of the fact that Carlow managed only 0-2 across the entire 60 minutes, losing by 14 points, and playing, by all accounts, with three sweepers.
While the Carlow seniors have been the story of the GAA year for many, certain sections of the pundit class have been negative and borderline ungracious due to the team's perceived "negative" style of play. This criticism was extended beyond the senior team last week after such a poor return.
At the minor game between Carlow and Kildare this evening. Carlow played with three sweepers, managed two points in the entire game and never changed their system despite trailing by 7 at HT. They lost 1-13 to 0-2 in the end. Carlow management should hang their heads in shame
— Patrick Ward (@patrickward93) May 23, 2018
Speaking to the Irish Mirror after last night's game, Carlow senior coach Steven Poacher, the focus of much of the negative punditry surrounding Carlow's incredible run this year, has hit back with strongly at what he perceived as attacks on a group of 16-year-old children.
The minors tonight away to Laois had a great result.
They drew 10-all after being absolutely trawled disgracefully through the media last week.
For a bunch of 16-year old lads, getting destroyed because someone was trying to fulfil his own self needs and his own popularity - it’s disgusting what goes on sometimes.
I would love if some of these people would actually come and take a session and look at the work these lads do.
Poacher pointed out that 22 of the current Carlow minor panel are underage again next year, meaning their game is very much a work in progress, especially against a team as strong as this Kildare minor side.
They were playing a Kildare team that was a full year, mentally and physically, bigger than them.
Kildare beat Wexford the week before by 15 points. So the lads only got a couple of points - so what? They're building for next year.
The criticism of such a young team obviously struck a chord in the county with senior footballer Sean Gannon also taking to Twitter after the game.
Pity they couldn’t hold on for the win but incredible character shown from that group after the nonsense in the media last week!! Well done players and mgt!! 🇬🇳 https://t.co/AWRimxF7Bl
— Seán Gannon (@CannonGannon9) May 30, 2018
After Carlow's win over Kildare in the Leinster Senior Semi Final on Sunday, Gannon was our guest on this week's So-Called Weaker Podcast and talked about his team's system, the growing hype among the population of the county, and the incredible nicknames on the Carlow team as well as much more.