Recently-promoted Wexford enter this local derby with a more satisfying Allianz League campaign than their opponents, but Carlow will hope that home advantage will nullify that advantage at Netwatch Cullen Park this Sunday.
Wexford achieved promotion with two games to spare in Division 4, whereas Carlow were left to rue a home defeat to London which derailed their ambitions.
By the time these sides met in the final group game in April, there was nothing at stake and so Carlow’s 2-14 to 1-7 victory will count for little.
Nevertheless, Turlough O’Brien’s team will feel they’ve a realistic chance of progressing in the Leinster Championship for the first time since 2011.
Last year, after losing to Louth in the first round, Carlow knocked-out Wicklow from the qualifiers and this is a challenge which will appeal to them.
But Wexford have been boosted by the arrival of new boss Seamus ‘Banty’ McEnaney and still have a few players with Leinster final experience in their ranks.
They, too, have gone a couple of years without a win in the provincial championship, but only lost out to Kildare by at a point at Croke Park 12 months’ ago.
With the minor quarter-final between the counties throwing-in at 1pm, the double-header should attract a large crowd to Netwatch Cullen Park.
Experienced Carlow captain, Darragh Foley is hoping the county’s football fans will get behind them. “Hopefully we’ll have a big support,” he says. “We had a strong league campaign. It came down to the final day and unfortunately we didn’t get promoted. But we brought on a few new players and got a game plan in place that we’re comfortable with and that we know works.”
Wexford stalwart Daithi Waters realises that a strong league campaign doesn’t necessarily count for anything come the championship.
“There’s been teams caught over the years, getting promoted and then going nowhere in the championship,” he says. “We played Carlow in the last round of the league, it was a bit of a non-game, but they’re well tuned-in, so it’s not going to be easy. And it’s in their home pitch – it’s going to be a tough battle.”