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Hurling boss Kelly looking for improvements ahead of Galway clash

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Laois manager Eamonn Kelly

Laois hurling manager Eamonn Kelly was happy with his side’s big win over DIT in the Walsh Cup in Rathdowney on Sunday but says that a similar performance wouldn’t be enough to beat Kerry in the opening round of the league in February.

Laois have now beaten NUI Galway and DIT and face Galway in Rathdowney next Sunday.

“There was a lot to be gained out of it, it was a win,” he said after the game. “Okay, the opposition are what they are, they were missing a few of their bigger name players, Liam Blanchfield and Jack Guiney, so they weren’t as strong, but we were just trying to focus on ourselves.

“They boys fought hard out there, they put up a good score, but we have a lot to work on as well, we conceded 1-17, so we have to look at that.”
While Kelly was delighted to pick up the victory, he was under no illusions as to its significance, knowing next Sunday’s game against Galway will be the real litmus test. “It was good to get a win, and get back-to-back wins, but by this time next week we’ll know an awful lot more.

“You’re playing college teams who are under strength, but Galway, like ourselves, will be down a few college players but they’ll be a lot tougher opposition.”

Laois score-taking was something that really pleased the Tipperary native. “A lot of those scores started at the back, where they won their own ball and built a platform, and then gave good ball inside to our full-forward line, and they took their scores well, so that side of it was satisfying.”

One man to particularly impress was Paddy Whelan. Playing in an unfamiliar centre-forward position, he scored 2-3 from play, and was one of a number of players to catch the eye. “Paddy is a very good hurler, and he played that role at centre-forward very well, but they are all playing together as a unit quite well at the minute.

“You wouldn’t want to be getting carried away beating the college sides, no disrespect to them, if they had everyone they would be a lot tougher opposition, but when you’re playing county teams, that performance would probably not be good enough to beat Kerry in four weeks time.”