By Kieran Murphy
PRAISE indeed from the master himself. He doesn’t have the medals that Shane O’Neill has, but if a survey was carried out among the senior clubs of Carlow as to one player they would most like to have then Paul Broderick would be high on the list.
The full-forward scored 1-5 on Sunday but it was the quality of the late, late goal from those around him and the stunning finish from the teenage substitute which Broderick focussed on immediately after the game.
“You always have to believe. You are looking at 35 minutes up on the clock. There is not much left and in fairness to Shane O’Neill, who is only a young fella, he has a sweet left boot. If there is anyone’s hands you would want to put the ball in, it is his,” said the Tinryland forward.
“The heads didn’t hang. We had to get to this situation to see if we could make it happen. Talking about it is one thing, but the lads showed here today they can do it.”
He was disappointed with the concession of the first goal when players from both sides failed to take control before John Heslin finally took on the responsibility. Even though there was only 18 seconds on the clock when the score came, the ball seemed to bob around between players for what seemed an age.
“It opened up. Maybe we didn’t close them down quickly enough so that will be something we will have to look at,” noted Broderick.
Carlow played the possession game and did it well. The visitors got a reward for having a clearly defined game plan and possessing an unwillingness to lie down when hammer blows came.
“It was a decent performance away from home. Wins or draws, they don’t come easy,” said Paul.
“I actually think looking back we have a lot to work on. They got in for two easy goals but happy enough to get something on the road.”
In contrast to a stunned Westmeath side, there were smiles on Carlow faces.
“One thing the squad has is belief in what we are doing. While it is not perfection and far from it, this was a good start and we were always going to fight to the end.”
The visit of London and the weight of expectation will bring its own problems next week. Another big test for Broderick and Carlow.
“I do feel there is a lot to work on. They have been improving year after year so we have a hard battle next week.”