A devastated Laois minor hurling maanger Pat Critchley vowed his team would regroup and come back again after losing out to Kilkenny in the Leinster semi-final on Saturday evening in O’Moore Park.
Hopes were high Laois could record a rare win over Kilkenny, and despite a spirited performance, they just couldn’t topple a well drilled Kilkenny side.
Having set out at the start of the year to go one better on the performance of 2013, when Laois were beaten in the Leinster final, Critchley was hugely disappointed to see Laois’ season end at the semi-final stage.
“They are after putting in a massive, massive effort this year, there was an unbelievable effort from everyone. Some of the hurling was very good today, but they goal that they took and the one that we missed went against us.
“The final ten minutes got away from us, but sometimes mentally that can happen. We’re seven down at one stage in the first half and I think we got it back to two, but that goal knocked us a bit. But that’s the way it is, we’re hugely disappointed.
WWe had big targets for this year, we thought we were going to go one step further and win Leinster, but it wasn’t to be and the best of luck to Kilkenny in that, they are going on to play Dublin now, but we’re just disappointed it’s not us going to play in it.”
Laois had plenty of possessionover the course of the game, but couldn’t find that ruthless streak that Kilkenny clearly had. While admitting that was disappointing, Critchley was at least happy the experience would stand to the team. “We are very young as well, especially up front and maybe we don’t have the physicality that came into the game, and that’s something we will have to look at for next year.
But it’s experience for those lads as well, and you’re looking at using the minor grade to develop players for Laois, and I just said to the lads there, some of the lads doing hurley carriers for us are waiting for the senior draw on Monday, Dwane Palmer and Ciaran Collier and Joe Campion were with us last year. Cha and Picky Maher have come through as well, so for a lot of lads their careers are only starting, so we’ll lick our wounds and get back on the treadmill again and work hard again.”
There is also a sizeable number of the panel underage next year, so Laois will keep looking to make the breakthrough. “Over half the panel, eighteen or nineteen fellas, maybe twenty even, of the thirty-four are underage again next year. It’s not a good place to be, where we are now, but we’ll recover from this and come back again. Cheddar was saying after the Wexford match two years ago that we’ll keep banging on that door until we knock it down”