GAA

Laois vice-captain Joe Phelan at the launch of the All-Ireland Hurling series

*In association with Copper Face Jacks

Andrew Egan

Reporter:

Andrew Egan

Email:

sport@leinsterexpress.ie

It's a rare occurrence when you see a Laois man at a launch for the All-Ireland series, but vice-captain Joe Phelan made his way to Limerick for the launch along with players from Cork, Limerick, Tipperary and Wexford.

*In association with Copper Face Jacks

 

Phelan spoke of how the Laois upset against Dublin might have surprised some, but didn't surprise him and his team.

"No, we expected that, to put in a proper performance. We're just delighted to get over the line. 

"We played them in the Walsh Cup and it was a pretty close match. We should've beaten them in the league now. We were in a very similar position, up by a few points at half-time, and they came back in the last ten minutes and pipped us. 

"We knew we were in with a good shout and thankfully it worked out."

The vice-captain believes the belief that has progressed within the team throughout the year is what got them over the line this time in comparison to when Laois lost narrowly to Dublin in the league.

"I think we were better as a team. I think we panicked maybe a bit a couple of months ago. We just stuck to the process this time, kept working the ball out, sticking to the game plan.

"That's what I think got us over the line, that bit of composure at the end."

Several big names didn't commit to the panel this season, with Phelan's club-mate and last year's Player of the Year Ciaran Collier one of those that opted not to come in.

"There is some unbelievable hurlers that are not in. We'd like to have them in, but the group that we have now, they work so hard. They're fantastic, they give it everything and they're such a talented group as well.

If others don't want to commit, they don't want to commit. We'll just keep rocking on ourselves."

Munster giants Tipperary will now be a step-up on Dublin, but Phelan hopes Laois stick to their roots and give them a rattle.

"We'll just have to go out and give it our best. We know Tipperary are a serious, serious side, and we'll just have to tear into them and see what happens. Hopefully we put on a good show for everyone."

Celebrations last Sunday were wild and deserved, and Phelan soaked in the atmosphere alongside Snapchat sensation Buff Egan.

"Eddie (Brennan) led the way in fairness to him now! He was behind the bar serving pints! 

Sunday night was brilliant. We went to the golf club in Portlaoise for an oul' barbecue after it, and the Buff (Egan) was there and we had a bit of craic there. Then we went in to Portlaoise town to meet the fans and stuff. It was brilliant, the place was crazy, and we celebrated all night."

The training session after the celebrations is always difficult, but Phelan knows it's necessary.

"Tonight we'll get a big blow out I suppose at training, and then for the rest of the week we'll knuckle down and see what we can do for Sunday."

Munster giants Tipperary will now be a step-up on Dublin, but Phelan hopes Laois stick to their roots and give them a rattle.

"We'll just have to go out and give it our best. We know Tipperary are a serious, serious side, and we'll just have to tear into them and see what happens. Hopefully we put on a good show for everyone.

"Ah sure there's always a chance. I think we do. It is going to be difficult, but like I said, we can only give it our best, get our game going, try to impose ourselves on them. If we're in at all I'm sure the crowd will get behind us and hopefully that might drive us on."

Laois and Tipperary meet in the All-Ireland quarter-final at Croke as the second game of a double-header including Cork and Kilkenny. Throw in for the Laois game is 4pm.

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