Laois hurling manager Brendan Fennelly lamented the lack of interest around the county in the fortunes of his senior hurling side as one of the key factors in Laois’ 34 point drubbing at the hands of Cork last Saturday.
Fennelly had watched on in horror as Denis Walsh’s ruthless Cork outfit steamrolled past an under-prepared Laois team. Speaking afterwards, Fennelly lifted the lid on what has been a tumultuous year on and off the field for Laois. “We met before the game there and we decided that everyone would give it 100% regardless of what was right or wrong during the year, that everybody would burst themselves today and in fairness to them they did, they gave everything they had, particularly in the first half, but we just got caught out.
“There are probably lots of reasons, but when you don’t prepare properly for certain matches, especially when you come up against the bigger ones, the Corks and Tipperarys and Kilkennys, they will just give you a lesson on hurling and that’s eventually what happened today.”
When pressed on what he meant by not preparing properly, Fennelly highlighted some of the obstacles he encountered this year. “From the very start it’s been very hard work getting players in to play for Laois, and you can’t tar all players with the one brush, there are certain players there who are very committed to the Laois cause, but there are other players who are not as committed.
“They are in with the Laois county team because they have to be rather than because they want to be. We had a reasonably good run in January, February, March before the club scene started training and I think part of the problem then was players coming in to train for Laois, and then training for their clubs as well, and they were picking up knocks and they were overdoing it, and their enthusiasm dwindled all the way. The danger was that this was coming if we met a team like that, and it did come to happen.”
Highlighting the apathy towards the county team, Fennelly recalled his first meeting with the players. “It’s a Laois problem, and the County Board have to address it number one. You go in and you do a job in a county, and I’m not saying I was doing everything right, you do plenty of things wrong, but the vibes from day one.
“Before the players ever knew me at the beginning of the year they were invited to meet me. Thirty players were invited to meet me and 13 turned up, and it’s been a bit like that all the way through.”