Laois manager Eddie Brennan. Pic: Ray Ryan.
One of the most influential individuals in Sunday’s Allianz League Division 1B hurling clash between Galway and Laois at Pearse Stadium wasn’t a player, a mentor or even a match official – it was a man sitting with a notebook up in the stand, according to Laois manager Eddie Brennan after the game.
“It was obvious that there was an assessor sitting above in the stand” railed the Graigue-Ballycallan man. “To me, I think both sides were given frees, there seemed to be yellow cards dished out very early and very often. They have a job to do and I’m not going to turn around and criticise that, I just think there’s a real difference in how a referee does his job when we all knew that there was an assessor sitting up there”.
Both sides benefited from a number of frees that wouldn’t necessarily be given in the white heat of summer championship hurling, but Brennan went on to say that it didn’t affect the result, merely the quality of the game for supporters.
“I saw at one stage a fella flicked to get a ball, it was a genuine attempt to get a ball and he was shown a yellow card. When players are dipping low, I find it very frustrating. If a player is standing his ground and a player comes in against him, dips low and grabs the arm, I don’t see how that can be punished either”.
Speaking about his own players, Brennan was happy with the effort produced by his team and felt that further improvement in the coming weeks was very realistic.
“I think the first 15, 20 minutes really hurt us today” he said. “We have to look at the time you have to warm up, in the dressing room, and there’s a learning curve in relation to that. There was a narrow window today, but that’s something that’s within our control, we have to fix the likes of that.
“We have to get at the pitch very quickly, and if we can tidy up one or two things and apply how we finished that match, I think we’re in a good position to have a right cut off it next weekend against Waterford”.
“Certainly there were things we worked on in training that we didn’t do as well as we would have liked today, but that’s what it’s all about, some days they come off and some days they don’t. But we were up against quality opposition so I’d be more than happy with how the match petered out for us, because we could very easily have let the floodgates open there but we didn’t”.