By Conor McKenna
WHAT a fabulous day for Laois hurling people. It was perfect from start to finish. Eddie Brennan will remember this one for a long, long time as he’s done a remarkable job since taking over from Eamonn Kelly.
One of lowest points in Brennan’s career came on 25 May 2016 when his Kilkenny U/21 hurling side lost out to Westmeath in what was one of the greatest shocks in GAA history.
The former Kilkenny star therefore needed no reminder of Westmeath’s capabilities and his Laois side were ruthless and were on top from start to finish.
John Lennon shares his name with a former Beatle and they both certainly get involved in groups who entertain, as Laois’s scoring rate has been very impressive.
I’m going to discard the last group game against Westmeath as Laois were already through, but in their other four games (including the final) the average winning margin was 7.75 points, while Laois scored an average of 32.75 points (goals included) across those four games, against Offaly, Antrim, Kerry and Westmeath.
Ross King found the net in the third minute on Sunday and that will be a great moment for him personally, as he didn’t feature in the league, but he has certainly made an impact since rejoining the Laois panel and his early goal provided a platform for a Laois victory.
Mark Kavanagh was without question the best hurler on the pitch as he registered 12 points, six of which came from play, with the Rathdowney/Errill hurler delivering the goods when it really mattered.
Aaron Dunphy scored a great goal in the first half, though Laois’s third goal courtesy of blood substitute Stephen Bergin was a game changer, as it came in the 47th minute at a time when the game was very much in the melting pot.
The matter in which Laois pushed on will please Brennan as they cruised to an 11 point win and Laois have been phenomenal in the championship so far this year.
Their massive support will hope they can continue to deliver the goods against Dublin this weekend and while Laois will probably be the outsiders, they certainly will not roll over. Dublin will need to produce a performance if they are going to advance.
This may go down in history as one of the greatest days in Laois hurling history and what was very encouraging was that there was a massive Laois crowd in Croke Park who were prepared to back the team.
Eddie Brennan and his charges should be all positive ahead of this weekend’s game and they can deservedly look forward to playing in the Leinster Championship next year.