Eamonn Kelly calling the shots for Laois on Sunday. Pic: Alf Harvey.
Another week and another win for Eamonn Kelly as Laois senior hurling manager, and he will have few easier games to contend with while he is in charge of this team.
DIT brought little to the table on Sunday, and were thoroughly outplayed as a result but a hungry and young Laois team.
To then outsider, there was little be gained from a one-sided victory like this, but Tipperary native Kelly disagreed. “There was a lot to be gained out of it, it was a win. Okay, the opposition are what they are, they were missing a few of their bigger name players, Blanchfield and Guiney, so they weren't as strong, but we were just trying to focus on ourselves.
“They boys fought hard out there, they put up a good score, but we have a lot to work on as well, we conceded 1-17, so we have to look at that.”
While Kelly was delighted to pick up the victory, he was under no illusions as to its significance, knowing next Sunday's game against Galway will be the real litmus test. “It was good to get a win, and get back-to-back wins, but by this time next week we'll know an awful lot more.
“You're playing college teams who are under strength, but Galway, like ourselves, will be down a few college players but they'll be a lot tougher opposition.”
There were at least plenty of positives to bring into that Galway game, with Kelly particularly happy with the manner in which Laois worked, and took, their scores. “A lot of those scores started at the back, where they won their own ball and built a platform, and then gave good ball inside to our full-forward line, and they took their scores well, so that side of it was satisfying.”
As with all games at this time of year, chances are afforded to players trying to stake their claim for a place in the starting fifteen, and one man to impress was Paddy Whelan. Playing in an unfamiliar centre-forward position, he racked up 2-3 from play, and was one of a number of players to catch the eye. “Paddy is a very good hurler, and he played that role at centre-forward very well, but they are all playing together as a unit quite well at the minute.
“You wouldn't want to be getting carried away beating the college sides, no disrespect to them, if they had everyone they would be a lot tougher opposition, but when you're playing county teams, that performance would probably not be good enough to beat Kerry in four weeks time.”
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