Captaining a team is as much about what is done as what is said. Being given the honour of captaining any team can either bring the best out of some people, or see them weighed down under the pressure of the role.
For Laois’ new captain Kevin Meaney, the decision that sees him take over the mantle from Colm Begley as the team’s chosen leader on the field is a result of what he has done, not what he is expected to do.
The sight of the Arles-Kilcruise man plucking balls from the sky around the middle of the field, or throwing himself whole-heartedly into playing out of position, has lifted supporters and players alike for the last few years.
With his first championship campaign no stretching out in front of him, he reveals the management’s decision to award him his new position came with one basic piece of the advice - keep doing what your doing. “I was appointed captain and I was just told to play as I normally play, just do my normal role and don’t do anything out of the way that would affect my own game.
“Just encourage everyone around me, like I always would have done anyway, and just play as I normally did and don’t make any changes really.”
So far things haven’t gone to plan for either Laois or Meaney, but he admits the focus has been firmly fixed on this weekend’s game. “Our focus was always on the first round of the championship, so we’ve put our heads down since the end of the league and trained hard, that’s all we can do. We look at Longford and we know they are a serious threat, so we can’t look any further than that, that’s where our focus is at the moment.”
Laois shouldn’t be looking too far ahead, considering the scare they had in the first round of the championship last year against the same opposition. That result is sure to be brought up in the Longford camp in the run up to the game, and it is one Meaney and this Laois team know could have gone against them.
“They will be looking at last year as a game that they could have beaten us in. We’ve played Longford many times over the years from U-21 up and they have always been a serious threat to us. They are a very good side and we know the challenge that’s ahead of us.”