"The first game is like an All-Ireland final for us," said Carlow senior hurling manager, Colm Bonnar, ahead of his side's Leinster Championship opener away to Galway in Pearse Stadium this weekend.
Carlow drew with Galway at home, and pushed Dublin during the league, but there is an understanding that their supposed superiors will be running at a higher gear this time around.
Speaking to the Irish Examiner, he said: "We’re trying to train them and to learn to stay in a game for as long as we can.
"Before, you might be dominated by a Laois or a Westmeath for 10 or 15 minutes and they might not put a big score on you.
"If you are dominated for that length of time by a Galway or Kilkenny, they will put a big score you so that’s where we have to be a lot more clever in terms of how we get back and how we defend and how we hang in a game.
"You can’t buy that. That’s experience. The first game is like an All-Ireland final for us."
Galway v Carlow is on Sunday, May 12 at 3pm