Reaction – John Sugrue
By Conor McKenna
LAOIS manager John Sugrue was in great form following his side’s two point victory over Westmeath, with the Kerry native pleased with the team’s improvement since their league reversal to the same opposition.
“Things worked out today, but we’re still down a league medal as far as I’m concerned. Westmeath were full credit for their win that day, but we’ve worked hard since the end of club month on some of our issues,” said Sugrue.
“There’s still work to do, there’s no two ways about it, but that was a hard-earned and well-earned win today.”
The Laois boss paid tribute to Daniel O’Reilly, who has recovered from a serious injury he suffered over a year ago.
“He’s a great lad, very honest, very fit and very mobile. Eoin Lowry missed out today but made some serious yardage with the ball towards the finish. It is great to see Dicey back and Brendan Quigley back after a long-term injury too,” Sugrue said.
Laois held a six point lead at the interval, but Sugrue was not surprised by Westmeath’s revival, as he felt it was a strong wind.
“We said it at half time, that was a six-point wind. It was blowing very strongly down the field and we just about got enough out of ourselves to get the scores we needed to get over the line.
“Westmeath were probably a little bit unlucky with one or two of their late shots that they didn’t glide over, but we’ll take that little bit of luck today.”
Sugrue had watched Meath dismantle Carlow the night before, but would not entertain talk of the gap between Dublin and the rest of Leinster, instead opting to focus on Meath.
“It was on next door to me. If I looked out the window I could hardly miss it. Meath were very good and easily disposed of Carlow which not too many teams have done this last few years. They are a serious team. We have to worry about the gulf between ourselves and Meath first (before Dublin).
“If you’re on a Laois panel at the moment and you train well, you’re focussed, and you’re there consistently in training and you’re competitive, you’ll get a chance.
“The guys have a little bit of quality about them but saying that we’re up against Meath next and I saw them against Carlow last week, they were very good, we’ve another volume of work to do,” he said.
Mark Timmons was substituted with an injury in the first half, but Sugrue did not know anything about the seriousness of the injury.
“He came off with a hand injury. I don’t know what the story is,” he said.
Sugrue also spoke about the other injuries in the squad, with Paul Cahillane, Stephen Attride and Trevor Collins currently injured.
“Paul is struggling with a bit of tendonitis in his knee. We’ve a couple of guys injured at the moment. Stephen Attride rolled his ankle last weekend and just wasn’t at the right pitch of it for today. Trevor Collins is making good progress with an injury,” he added.
Sugrue was pleased with the players who started for Laois for the first time this year, stating that those players played well on the day.
“There is a flow to a panel and some guys will have other stuff going on and they might get distracted and so on. We can’t really afford that, we need players fully focused the whole time so I’m delighted for the boys who came in today and got their game. All of them who started today for the first time this year did very well,” the Kerry native said.
Evan O’Carroll was excellent for Laois throughout the afternoon and Sugrue praised his star forward after the match.
“Evan has come in today and stood up for us but other fellas have stood up as well. Dinny Booth has dogged it out big time this year, Paddy Sullivan made his debut as did Seán O’Flynn. Damien O’Connor came in for his first start of the year probably and put in a great shift for us. The leaders were all over the field today with regard to their attitude and their effort for the team,” Sugrue said.