It was disappointing on Sunday last to watch a Laois team that had no direction or no ambition in themselves. We never put it up to Dublin, and I feel that we were probably a beaten team before we took to the field.
The Michael Lawlor Column
Laois made some positional changes before the game, bringing in Padraig McMahon and moving Kevin Meaney to midfield, and you would not have had a problem with any of those.
Where you would have a problem, however, was in not making changes a lot earlier during the game, when it became very clear that Dublin were on top in all parts of the field. Defensively we were doing okay, although had it not been for Eoin Culliton in goals the game could have been over a lot earlier than it should have been.
Cahir Healy did extremely well on Bernard Brogan too, keeping him very quite for long parts of the game, but where we were in trouble was from midfield on. In the first half we looked like a side that only met up the morning of the match, there was nearly 15 minutes gone before we gave the umpires at the Hill 16 end a reason to take their hands out of their pockets.
It was embarrassing at times to watch and if you were a rugby or soccer marketing chief trying to sell your game in Laois then you would be rubbing your hands. If this is to be the spectacle that we are supposed to pay in to see, then you will see a lot more tickets being returned from Laois.
If Laois had shown any ambition at all then maybe we could have beaten Dublin, because they were there for the taking. I don’t think that they took Laois all that serious, and when, with 15 minutes to go, they took off their best player it was a real slap in the face to Laois supporters who made the journey up.
If Padraig Clancy was not worth his place in the team, or even worth 20 minutes during the game, then maybe I don’t really know as much as I think. MJ Tierney also, it doesn’t make any sense to me, he was our top scorer in the league and then all of a sudden he is blanked out.
I do think that management have some serious questions to answer, and these are the joys of being an intercounty manager, it’s great explaining to everyone how good you are after winning, but you also have to sit up and explain things when they go wrong. Kerry gave a brilliant display of football on Saturday evening, but in fairness to Limerick they tried to play football too and came away asking certain questions of the Kerry defence.
Dublin, on the other hand, learnt nothing on Sunday and Laois people saw little that will give us hope. We are to be in Division 1 next year and unless our management team can get this Laois squad to start playing attractive football that will get people talking again about Laois in a positive note, then we will be the butt of jokes from all.
We may have a good run in the back door, but the way we play will earn us no friends who enjoy good open and honest football. We do have the players, but if you don’t allow them to express themselves, then really what you are training are athletes and not footballers.
We were given the spiel after the league final that it was all about the championship, which is fair enough, but what I saw on Sunday last confirmed that talk is cheap. Not trusting your players to be able to go out and play football is the biggest failure that a manager can have.