LAOIS were on the end of a Kilkenny whirlwind in the Leinster U-21 Final in O’Moore Park last Wednesday night. Tony Doran’s side were blitzed early in the game and while they showed great battling qualities in the second-half, the result was never in doubt after the visitors stormed into an unassailable early lead.
Speaking after the game the Laois manager was matter of fact in his assessment of the game although he struck a positive note in stating that he expects the players to bounce back.
“It’s just one of them nights. It just went wrong. The first 15 or 20 minute Kilkenny just over-awed us. The lads are just not used to these big game occasions so they’re not. They are an awesome Kilkenny team but we won’t get disheartened about it. We’ll get ourselves back up again and hopefully get back into it early again next year and go forward again.”
Laois fielded a relatively young team on the night and the manager expects the experience to stand to them in campaigns ahead.
“We’re very young there. I think there’s only five of them over age for next year. We came with a young team, they got the experience of a Leinster Final and maybe we can go a bit further and build them up next year.
“They’ve never experienced anything like this before, none of them. Okay they might hurl here in the county final here in Laois but they’ve never experienced anything as big as this as a Leinster Final day. Maybe it got to them but that’s the game so it is. That’s the way it pans out and that’s it. They were just unfortunate.”
Tony Doran was full of praise for how his players came out after the break and gave it their all and he also noted that Laois would have to ‘forget about the rules’ in terms of training if they were to get on a par with the top teams.
“Just look at the second-half there, they never gave up. They stayed fighting at it and stayed fighting at it. You just have to stay fighting. We have to start quicker, we know we have to start quicker.
“We have to look at what Kilkenny is doing in their set up and what Galway is doing in their set up. We have to look at the way they are structuring their things to get these super starts. Maybe it’s down to a training thing and maybe it’s something we can do. I know for one thing there is no point in Laois talking about coming back next February and March again and thinking we are going to prepare and U-21 team or any team sufficiently to compete in these championships when you have the likes of Kilkenny and Galway and every other county coming back in October and November and December doing all their work then and we’re sitting wondering oh why can’t we do this? We have to forget about the rules that are there and go and do it.
“We have to step up and realise that the Corks, Kilkennys, Galways, everyone like that is back in October, November, December doing their heavy training and we’re coming back in January and February and think we’re going to get up to speed. It’s not going to work and we have to go back and do our heavy training in November and December and get it into place and get it done quick and early.”