Laois manager Peter Creedon. Pic: Alf Harvey.
It won't happen every day that Peter Creedon will come away from a losing a two point lead in injury time reasonably happy, but that was the case for Laois' manager on Saturday night.
While Laois missed out on the chance to contest an O'Byrne Cup semi-final, the Cork man saw enough in Saturday night's entertaining clash with Meath to be contented as he turns his focus to the league.
“There was good tempo to the game, there was good, hard hitting” said Creedon afterwards to Midlands Radio. “I thought we showed fantastic character, we had a sloppy start to the game in the first ten minutes, we went eight points down and hauled it back to three at half time, and I thought we were comfortably the better team in the second half.
“Meath got a penalty there at the death, but we still came back up and got the equalising point, so we would be very happy with the performance.”
The O'Byrne Cup's basic purpose is to help teams get ready for the league, and to that end, Laois have found it useful. While the signifcance of the league is usually dwarfed by that of the championship, Creedon hinted that his players are keen to put in a good league campaign. “A lot of the players would be disappointed that they are in Division 3 of the National Football League, but as I keep saying to them, because I have experience of that, the difference between the top four teams in Division 3 and Division 2 won't be a whole pile, and we've got to batten down the hatches and battle really hard in all the matches.
“The likes of Johnno is a very seasoned campaigner, and Donie Kingston up front, but they are going to have to improve as well as everybody else on the team.”
Talk of championship eventually filters through, however, and like every other manager in Leinster, the Cork man has one eye on Dublin. “Laois obviously has a proud tradition. If you go back through the years, Mick O'Dwyer filled this role in Laois, and to follow him, I'd be very proud of that.
“Everyone in Laois and everyone in Leinster is battling to be second to Dublin and to get a cut off them, and we are no different in our own minds, we'd be hoping to string a few victories together, and you never know, we could be dangerous enough come championship time if we can keep our main players fit.
"Every county in Division 3 and 2, you can't afford to lose two or three of your top players to injuries, and if we keep all those players fit and improve incrementally throughout the league, we'll be there or thereabouts.”
Laois next take to the field on February 4th, against Louth, in O'Moore Park.