Carlow manager Turlough O’Brien saw his team run Ulster giants Monaghan close on Saturday evening, as the home side led by two points midway through the second half.
However, the Division 1 outfit’s class eventually told, as they made their way safely through to the next round.
Nonetheless, Carlow can look back fondly on what has been a fruitful summer. Having shocked Wexford in the opening round of Leinster, they asked questions of All-Ireland champions in Portlaoise, and it took Brendan Murphy to be sent off for the Dubs to truly pull away.
Wins over London and Leitrim followed, as Carlow built up to a potential shock against Monaghan.
While Turlough O’Brien was clearly disappointed at the final whistle, he remained optimistic after what was a remarkable season.
“I think Monaghan just got out by the skin of their teeth.
“I think we matched them all the way through and showed that Carlow can compete at the very highest levels.
“[The run has] been exceptional, we’ve been starved for all our careers, we’ve had no success and we were so close to getting through to the next round.
“[We got] fantastic support from around the county, everybody is so proud of the team. They are going to will it on next year to success.” Quotes via RTÉ.
Monaghan now march on to the next round of the qualifiers, where they will face the losers of either the Ulster or Leinster finals.
Although Carlow may come away from their loss tonight with a sense of ‘what-might-have-been’, they can certainly take pride from what was a championship campaign that nobody expected from them.