Laois manager Cheddar Plunkett admitted to being ‘delighted’ with the performance of this team, after they turned in a superb display in Sunday’s game against All-Ireland champions Clare.
Laois were given little chance of causing an upset prior to the game, but they almost pulled off a major shock when Brendan Reddin’s late goal got them within two points.
Having lost to Clare by 20 points in the Qualifiers last year, it shows clear signs of improvement from Plunkett’s charges, and he pointed to that difference in the margin of victory as evidence of Laois making steps in the right direction. “The scoring difference itself tells a fair story.
“I said during the week that there was a lot of things about the game last year in Ennis; we were going down to their pitch, we had had a good game against Galway the week before, and there were a number of things that might have affected our performance. We had a clearer run at it today, and I think we’re improving.
“I keep saying this, and I’m not just saying for the sake of it, we know where we are, we know we have a lot of work to perfect the way we want to play, so we will not get carried away with a performance here today.
“We’re delighted with the lads and we are proud of them, but we know we have a lot of work to do. We are looking forward to a Leinster Round Robin in a couple of weeks time, that’s a very, very tricky route for us.
“Our first game is against Westmeath in four weeks, it’s away in Mullingar, and that’s where our focus is going to be now. Today certainly gave us a platform to build on, and our performances in the league have given us a platform to build on, but we are ambitious and we want more than this.”
One of the big talking points from the game was the sending off of Tom Delaney early in the first half, and the Laois boss felt it was a tough call on the Clough-Ballacolla man. “It happened in front of me, I thought it was very harsh, Tom was going for the ball, his eye was on the ball, there was absolutely no malice in it whatsoever. There seemed to be a delayed reaction to the incident as well, but these things happen.
“I just have to commend the lads in terms of holding their shape after that and getting themselves back into the game and keeping things steady, as such, it had a major bearing on the game, there’s no doubt about that.”
Over in the Clare dressing room, David Fitzgerald felt that Laois had been the better side. “My honest opinion is, I think Laois were better than us today. I think we were lucky to get out of here” said the All-Ireland winning manager.