John Sugrue paid tribute to the character of his players.
Laois manager John Sugrue was delighted with the character shown by his team, after they overturned a ten point half-time deficit to claim a famous win over Wexford.
After a terrible first half display, Laois produced one of the most impressive comebacks the Leinster SFC has ever seen on Saturday night, and speaking afterwards, he admitted his side went through the full the full spectrum of their abilities. "Look, we probably went through the full gamut of things, from being quite poor and lazy and lackadaisical in the first half, with poor finishing, right through to huge effort through the second half and extra time, and some good finishing towards the end, so it's great.
"It's great to come out of a scrape, but we'll look back on it and probably won't be happy with lots of things we did, but really happy with the character of the lads. For a football team, if you've got character you've got something anyway."
As he spoke to the media on the pitch after the game, Laois supporters and players mingled on the field to celebrate the victory, in a scene reminiscent of a county final victory. While support for Laois has waned in recent times, Sugrue insists it us up to his squad to entice people to come to the games.
"People asked me before, when I took up this job, about the supporters and the lack of support, but you can see the supporters are willing, once the boys deliver to some degree. The boys are delivering, thank God, and long may that continue.
"We want to give the people of Laois a platform to support, and a team to support, in a real and earnest manner, if we play the football that we are capable of playing. Thankfully tonight we got it out of ourselves eventually, but we can't be as lax as that in the future."
While the first half was pretty woeful, the comeback was something special, and perhaps something that wouldn't have happened in the recent past. For Sugrue, it was just a result of the attitude the players have approached games with this year. "The lads have, to a man, driven into it fairly hard (this year).
"Fellas are taking disappointing news, in team selections at times, and just getting on with it. Benny Carroll came in today and added huge impetus to that game, and you have to have the height of respect for that man, and other fellas who came in and really added to the team peformance overall. Fellas are throwing their lot in for Laois this year, and as long as they continue to do that, I think we have a chance."
Sugrue also paid tribute to Gareth Dillon, who kicked the late equaliser to force extra time. The Portlaoise man has struggled to be given a chance in the team by recent managers, and Sugrue was at a loss as to why that was the case. "Gareth, in the past, I don't know what the story has been with that man, but he has been absolutely remarkable for us this year, he set the tone early on.
"Even in that first half, he was probably one of the fellas who made one meaningful contact with a Wexford man and denied him the ball, and you could see it in him today, he came with a really stiff attitude towards the game. He came off late on purely from fatigue, and to try to mind him as much as anything else. He's been a revelation for us."
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