*Ian Galvin and Aron Shanagher clash in the air. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
“Clare’s hurling cuteness” was the difference as Laois suffered an eight point defeat in Ennis on Sunday.
Laois manager, Eddie Brennan was disappointed his charges failed to build on their first half showing as the game progressed. Their return of five points with the wind in particular was a source of regret for the eight time All-Ireland winner.
“When you put in the shift that we did in the first thirty five minutes you would have said we were in a good position to go after that match. I’ve played a good few matches but I’ve never experienced anything as bad. At half-time there was lads inside shaking with the cold such was the elements. Ultimately it’s about getting stuck in, I think we ran out of steam, more than anything the difference was Clare’s bit of hurling cuteness, they had a lot of experienced players, you had the two lads at midfield and David Reidy”.
Brennan continued, “When you play against five different seasons in the first half you say to yourself you’re in a good position to go after the match but we didn’t get the scoreboard ticking quick enough after half-time, we couldn’t get a foothold in the game, in fairness to Clare they came out and fought very hard in the second half. When you needed to get the scores on the board quickly, it was Clare who got them, that’s the killer in weather like that. We had two goal chances in the second half, you need them to go in and that’s the difference when you’re chasing against the Clare’s of this world”.
During the course of the contest, they had to substitute three players due to various injuries. A setback that their medical team will look to remedy as they prepare for a crunch tie with Carlow this weekend.
“It is winner take all, we have to get home, get the heat into the bodies and get set for next week. It makes it a very appealing match as far as I’m concerned. It is do or die, when you make the jump up you want to stay up so there is a huge value in this,” the forty one year old concluded.