Laois manager John Sugrue.
Laois manager John Sugrue hopes to get a greater understanding of where his team stands this weekend, after their Leinster SFC final loss to Dublin last time out.
Laois turned in an impressive opening 30 minutes against Dublin in the provincial decider before eventually getting overrun, and now Sugrue will pit his side against Monaghan in the All-Ireland Qualifiers.
Speaking at a press conference earlier this week, the Kerry man was asked how he now viewed the Leinster final, with the benefit of hindsight. "It's a difficult one to analyse, to a great degree.
"At times we seemed to have a little bit of traction in the game and then more times, obviously, we coughed up opportunities, but look, the game panned out the way it did. I think our fellas, to be fair to them, they battled hard right throughout.
"Our product definitely declined, in terms of quality, as the game went on, but that's just one of those things with Dublin. They put you under huge strain and if your system carries little flaws in it, you're going to get exposed."
Prior to the game Sugrue spoke confidently about taking the game to Dublin, but did he feels he was a little foolhardy to think his team could compete with the Dubs. "No, I don't think there's a foolhardiness in it. We went out to compete with Dublin for as long as we could compete with them, that just turned out to be around 30 minutes or thereabouts.
"After that, we started to lose a little bit of shape and came under a little bit too much strain maybe, that's the scenario in the recent past, teams have been beaten and out the gap within 15 to 20 minutes by Dublin.
"We got ourselves to 30 minutes in that game and after that, it took its course, but it's just one of those things, you've got to measure how far you go with them."
Having experienced Dublin up close and personal though, Sugrue and his team now know where the bar is set, and it's up to them to keep improving. "Yeah, that's where this thing is at. We've got to find out where we are, and then if you do find out where you are in the pecking order, at this present moment in time, then you've got to go after more.
"This present game is a big opportunity again to measure ourselves and see where we are at. Monaghan are obviously a quality side, they have won a number of Ulster titles recently and that cannot be ignored, but saying that they are in the Qualifiers along with ourselves now, and let's see who comes out on top."
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