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'I think he's a massive future ahead of him' - Down native's influence on Carlow's football rising

Steven Poacher has made a major impact in coaching the Carlow footballers.

Image: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

CARLOW BOSS TURLOUGH O’Brien believes their coach Steven Poacher has ‘a massive future’ in GAA but remains confident that they will retain the services of the Down native next year.

Carlow secured a major breakthrough this spring when clinching promotion from the bottom tier of the football league for the first time in 33 years.

That was on the back of their progressive championship campaign last summer which saw them get outings against elite teams in Dublin and Monaghan, while also picking up championship wins over Wexford, London and Leitrim.

Ahead of Sunday’s Leinster opener against Louth in Portlaoise, O’Brien has highlighted Poacher’s contribution to the development of Carlow.

“When Steve Poacher came on as coach there 18 months ago, he’s added a whole new dimension to it. He’s a fantastic coach and he’s a great character, he’s really popular with the players.

“He’s very committed to Carlow, make no mistake about it. I’d say when he started out, he just thought he was going to take a session. But I think he’s grown into it and he’s as committed to Carlow as anybody is.

“He wants to bring us as far as we can go, no question of it. I know there’s great banter up in Down at the moment because we’re playing Pete (McGrath, Louth manager) obviously and we’re going to be playing Down next year in Division 3. He’s really enjoying it and I don’t see any reason why he would change.

“I think he’s a massive future ahead of him as a coach and maybe as a manager. But apart from that he’s just the most infectious personality and he’s a great character. He just exudes energy and people feed off him.

“I think any team he’s been with, he’s been really, really highly regarded by his players. I think in Ulster they’re very, very tactically minded about football and Steve is certainly very tactically astute. We would think the same way about football anyway so it’s very easy work with him.”

Turlough O’Brien Carlow manager Turlough O'Brien. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

O’Brien has also rejected suggestions that Carlow should be labelled a ‘defensive’ team.

“I think we’re playing a very, very well organised setup. We know what we’re about on the pitch. We’re very structured. We’re a hard team to beat.

“People say we’re defensive but really when you look at the stats for the national football league, I think we were second or third highest goalscorers in the whole national league.

“We were one of the highest scoring teams in the national football league so if that’s defensive football, I’d like it any day of the week.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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