Teddy McCarthy was in pragmatic form having watched his side defeated for the third successive game in this years league.
Speaking after the game, the Cork man put the defeat into context. “Look, we know where we are. It is my first year here and we didn’t get going until January and everyone knows that at this level you get your core training done in November and December, and we are not as fit as other teams are now, but we will be fit when we play Carlow in the championship and that is the most important thing.
“Unfortunately we are two months behind, but we are getting there slowly but surely, and today was positive. We missed four goal chances that we didn’t take. Maybe Clare took their foot off the pedal but that is their problem, and in fairness now we know where we are at and we know the level we have to get to, and we know where we are going and where we want to get.”
The manager felt that the performance was a huge improvement on the opening two league games. “I think it was a big step up from the previous games. In fairness, I think that Limerick and Clare will be the teams that will be battling to go up to the top division, and Clare will probably be in the Munster final against Cork. They will be one of the teams that will be around in the late summer, and I would be very happy with the way we battled today.
McCarthy also paid tribute to the performance of full-forward Neil Foyle. “I would be very happy with our full forward Neil Foyle and very happy with our full-back line, and we just have to get a bit more out of our forwards, but we will work on that. We need a bit more physicality in our forwards in particular. Clare had a big, strong rangy kind of a team and they are very good in the air, and we are struggling in the air to win first time possession and the type of hurling we are trying to play we are not fit enough at the moment.
“I am trying to get them to play direct hurling and you see what happened when we did that to Neil Foyle. We have a jewel in him and I hope I am not putting a jinx on him, but he has a great hand, wins great possession and is very cleaver with the ball. He had an excellent game at full-forward but we have to have more players doing that type of hurling up front.”
The previous week the team was criticized for lack of spirit. “Yeah and rightly so, but look we are down very low in Laois at the moment and I know that, and if I had a magic wand I would wave it but that is not the way it works. I am here for three years if the county board want me, and I will put in the work for the three years and I will improve the standard of the team here.”
Teddy McCarthy is a nice fellow, but has a tough reputation and people who know him of old say that he is taking a softly, softly approach with the Laois players at the moment. “Well there is a lot of hands on the shoulder stuff at the moment, and I am trying to get the lads to buy into the programme and keep everyone on board for the moment. I am trying to get to know the lads and their temperaments and they are getting to know me as well, but basically I am here for the long haul and hopefully they are here for it as well.”
It doesn’t get any easier for McCarthy with a long trip to Antrim next Sunday. “Every game that Laois will play in this division is going to be tough because we are not at the level yet, but I think that we are going tin the right direction.”