Niall Donoher overcame significant knee problems thanks to John Sugrue's help as a physio.
Laois manager John Sugrue is the epitome of straightforward. Where some intercounty managers obfuscate when questioned, Sugrue, in a rather unique stance for team bosses, answers the questions he is asked.
This refreshing, to-the-point approach to dealing with the media aspects of modern day management is also an approach that has struck the right chord with his players on the field.
One of those players, Courtwood’s Niall Donoher, has a particular reason for praising his boss.
Sugrue was the team physio when Donoher was in the midst of an injury nightmare. Having had serious problems with a recurring knee injury, which saw him miss out on the best part of two years of intercounty action, the Courtwood dynamo is now reaping the rewards of the work done by his now team manager in his previous role as team physio.
“I heard it that, you know, 'he’ll never get back from that', but in fairness I would have to thank the Laois County Board, they let me stay on under Justin (McNulty) and Barry Solan when they were here just to rehab, which took a long time.
“John himself was physio at that time, what he did for me went above and beyond what any physio would need to do, and only for him I wouldn’t be in this position.”
Close relationships forged on the physio table now seem to be really paying dividends since the Kerry man stepped into the top job.
As Donoher says, it was an appointment that was met with widespread positivity amongst the panel “He would have been someone, probably, from the bit he did with Justin, that we would have liked to see involved maybe at an earlier stage, now it’s great, there wasn’t one bad reaction to John's appointment.
“No one has walked away, everyone has come back and the younger lads have really bought into it, it’s been a huge take up to it.”
Although in his first campaign as an intercounty manager Sugrue is certainly not overwhelmed at the prospect of leading his team into a Leinster Final and has a clear plan of how he hopes to topple the reigning champions
“Dublin are going to be a different proposition, there's no hiding from that. But we're building and we're measuring ourselves against opposition.
“We're going to go after this one and try and set ourselves up to be competitive in the game, and to be competitive in the game you have to have an intention of winning it and not just try to stay in it.”