Laois captain Stephen Attride savours iconic walk up the steps of the Hogan Stand

Rory Delaney

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Rory Delaney

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Laois captain Stephen Attride savours iconic walk up the steps of the Hogan Stand

Laois captain Stephen Attride raises the NFL Division 4 trophy. Pic: Alf Harvey

Stephen Attride made the famous, and sadly from a Laois point of view, all too rare walk up the steps of the Hogan Stand on Saturday, and the Killeshin man was savouring the moment.

Attride has joined an exclusive list of Laois captains to hoist silverware towards the sky at headquarters. The last man to do it was Sean Ramsbottom in 2007 after the Leinster MFC victory, while the last senior captain was Ian Fitzgerald in 2003.

Speaking after the game, the all-action corner back confessed he enjoyed the occasion once it became clear Laois had sealed the win. "It's a great feeling to be honest, there's no other feeling like it.

"It was a hard-fought game, we probably let them back into it a small bit in the second half, but we were probably comfortable throughout, so it was great in the last few minutes, knowing that you had won it, and there's no better feeling than being up in the Hogan Stand lifting the cup."

It was Laois' second win over Carlow in less than a week, after their meeting the Sunday before. That was an exceptionally poor game, but Saturday's was a much more entertaining affair. Having had a first-hand look at the Barrowsiders, it greatly aided Laois' performance in the re-match. "We analysed Carlow fairly well after the game last week.

"We hadn't really come up against a setup like that, and in fairness to John and his backroom team, they came up with a bit more penetrating forward play, so I think that worked a treat throughout."

They did so after a week of upheaval and uncertainty, as injuries and controversies meant Laois were without three of their starting six forwards. In the end, it showed the strength in depth in the current Laois panel. "That's why we have a panel there, we have thirty-plus on the panel and you saw the lads that came in today, Eoin Lowry and Ross, they did a lot of damage up front, and that's what we have the panel for.

"If you look at the likes of Ross coming in, he has unbelievable experience and he has had many great days here before, so it was great to have him on board here today."

Attride also paid tribute to manager John Sugrue, when asked what the Kerryman brought to the squad. "Just unbelievable enthusiasm. He makes you aware of what you are playing for, you're playing for Laois people and as I said, his enthusiasm is infectious.

"He also very has a very tactical brain, so it's going well so far, we're looking forward to things in the summer, and next year as well."

While Laois will rightly enjoy this victory, Attride as all too aware afterwards that they have to keep building from this league campaign if they want to continue to enjoy success this year. "We're seven from seven in the league, so wins breed momentum, and momentum brings a good mentality, so we'll bring this momentum into the championship now."

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