By Denis J. Croke
HAPPY and content – yes; smug and arrogant – no. That would best sum up John Sugrue following the defeat of Offaly with what was possibly the best display by the team since he took over.
“There is definitely stuff to work on, there was a bit of sloppiness in the second half. We did play well in patches in the second half as well but there was some sloppiness there,” he said after the game.
So was it the best 70 minutes under his stewardship?
“It’s hard to say that. It all depends very much in the context of what we do next weekend. We’ve come up against an Offaly side who are definitely improving but at the end of the day Offaly are still Division 3, the same as we have been this year.”
But it was certainly a very entertaining game with both sides going at it from the start.
“It was always going to be that. John Maughan has Offaly playing football again and spectators would have enjoyed it even though it mightn’t have been the best for the blood pressure at times,” said Sugrue.
“We probably pushed onto them a bit in the second half, that wind was sizeable. Going in at 10 all at half time was not a bad performance by us in the first half despite us turn over the ball a lot.
“Look, that wind was worth a couple of points and we knew of we could tack on a couple of points they would find it difficult to score at the other end.”
And what about the Kingston brothers who were responsible for half of Laois’s tally o the evening?
“The boys had a good day out today and there were lots of fellas showed a bit of form there today. We brought in off the bench again today and fellas showed reasonably well so we’re a work in progress with regard to trying to develop our best system.”
It was also a special day for veteran Ross Munnelly whose game time has been limited this year.
“Ross got his match today and he thoroughly deserved it. He’s a lads who has had to bite his lip a bit a couple of times when the starting team was named but he’s gone out, he’s been on the training ground earlier than other fellas. He’s practicing his frees and he’s pushed himself hard in training,” said Sugrue
“Guys who get that kind of a scenario put in front of them have got to react positively and Ross has reacted positively. He’s got a real appetite to play.”
So would it be fair to say Laois go into their last 12 game with confidence on a high?
“Yeah but you’d want a hell of a lot of momentum as a division three side going into next weekend. Look it’s going to be a serious step up for us and we’ll need every bit of momentum that we have,” said the manager.
“Yes it’s great. The lads have worked really hard for it and I am delighted they are getting a chance of getting back to the stage we were at last year and see can we squeeze something more out of it.”
Summing up the year to date the manager said: “We’ve made a little bit of progress. Next weekend will tell us how far we’ve got.”