By Denis J. Croke
WHEN you’re after scoring 12 points in a national hurling final you would be entitled to be cock of the walk, strutting about. Not so Mark Kavanagh who was Laois’s outstanding payer in Croke Park on Sunday.
When cornered by a few of the media in the bowels of the Cusack Stand after the game all the young Rathdowney/Errill hurler wanted to talk about were the exploits of the rest of the team.
Maybe it was no co-incidence that his first reaction was to point to the three substitute forwards who made an appearance, Eanna Lyons, Neil Foyle and Stephen Bergin and who went on to score 1-5 between them.
“Eanna fired over three and gave a pass to Neil Foyle for another – he really took the game by the scruff of the neck. It was the panel thing though that we knew coming down the last 20 minutes we had the lads to make an impact,” said the sharpshooter who knows he will need to keep his eye on the target as there are others chomping at the bit to get into the side.
“You look at Stephen Bergin, that is his second goal in the championship as he came off the bench against Offaly and did the same. It just proves the strength of our panel and please God it will stay growing.”
Kavanagh also realises that Laois were still performing well and knocking up decent scores over the past few weeks when injury had ruled him out of games against Kerry and Westmeath. There were those who thought his selection for the final might have been a bit of a gamble.
It was no gamble and when the final whistle blew for Mark it was ‘surreal’.
“I knew there were plenty of lads to come and take my place. The one thing we have is a very strong panel. We are all working for each other. It opened the door for someone else and they all took their opportunity. Being out is not ideal as you want to be out there but you have to look at the bigger picture. Thankfully I got my chance and thankfully it worked out for the best, he said.”
“It is a bit surreal really. It is something you dream about growing up. Standing on the field with all of the panel hearing ***Lovely Laois*** blaring out. It is something you dream of and it won’t sink in for a good while.
Mark attributes a lot of the team’s success this year down to new manager Eddie Brennan.
“The boss man had many great days in Croke Park and he gave us the belief to go out and do it. We were never held back and we were told to go out and enjoy it. It is all about producing the business on the big days and that’s what we did.”