Colm Bonnar is hoping Carlow can learn from their 24-point drubbing by Limerick.
The Barrowsiders can look back on a memorable year which yielded Allianz League Division 2A and Joe McDonagh Cup honours, but Saturday's All-Ireland SHC preliminary quarter-final defeat showed they still have a long way to go to compete with the top teams.
"We would have had a bit more comfort if we had've been a bit closer to Limerick and to say, 'we're not that far away', but Limerick kind of showed us up a small bit in areas we'll need to work on," the Carlow manager said in the Irish Examiner.
"But that's good because it's something that we can work on straight away. It's not like it's going to happen next February or March. It's something now, this is what happened so what can we do to get it better? What do we need to work on as a group of players?
"So I'm delighted to have got this test and the boys will be when they look back on it, so I think it will stand to us well going into the winter in terms of our preparation."