Laois manager Seamas Plunkett admitted he was happy with the performance of his side in Sunday’s game against Antrim, despite seeing them slip to a one-point defeat.
For the second week in a row Laois put in a competitive display without getting much reward. Neil McManus’ late free gave Antrim the victory here, but considering Laois are still trying to get up and running for the new season, Plunkett was pleased with how things went. “I would be hugely enthused by what I saw today.
“We looked like we were out of it there in the second half when Antrim came back and scored six or seven points in a row, but the lads battled really, really hard.
“They are the fundamentals of successful teams and I think we have that in spades, and I was really delighted with what I saw today in terms of Team Laois, and I think when we overlay on top of that, bearing in mind we only have ten or eleven sessions done at this stage.”
Performances were hard to judge for Plunkett and his management team also, as the weather and the pitch made good hurling almost impossible. “Conditions were absolutely shocking today, you couldn’t judge players on today” Plunkett confessed afterwards.
“What you’re really looking for is the stomach for battle, and I was delighted with what I saw in that today. The conditions were terrible, for both teams, and they looked like they have done a little bit more hurling than we have. We’re just trying to get ourselves organised for the league, as I’ve said before, I’m very happy with the lads and work they are after doing.”
With their interest in the Walsh Cup now at an end, Laois can turn their focus to training and making sure they are in the best shape possible for their opening league game against Kildare. That in itself brings its own problems. “We’re in a difficult situation in our training in that we would like to have our seasons set out a little differently, but we are where we are and we’re up and running now. We have to combine our hurling with our conditioning but the focus is on the league.”
While things are tough for Laois at the moment, there are positives for them to take from the Walsh Cup, among them the number of young players which have been given a chance. Plunkett admitted he was happy with their performances over both days. “We had Oisín Carroll who came on today and we’re looking at different players. You wouldn’t be judging players on today, you have to be fair to players and you couldn’t judge them on that performance because the conditions were so poor.
“You would judge them based on what they are going to contribute to the effort and we feel we had that from every Laois player today, and I think if we have that first and we can work on the hurling, and we can judge the hurling a little bit later on when the conditions are better.”