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‘Disappointed not to get something out of it,’ says Laois hurling boss Eamonn Kelly

Laois manager Eamonn Kelly
Laois manager Eamonn Kelly

After losing their last two games by big margins, the Laois hurlers very nearly snatched a draw against Wexford on Sunday which would have ensured their Division 1B status and a league quarter-final against Tipperary.

Laois reduced the gap to a point late on thanks to goals from Neil Foyle and Paddy Purcell but Wexford hit the last three points of the game to run out 2-24 to 2-20 winners.

“Disappointed we didn’t get something out of the game,” said Laois manager Eamonn Kelly after the game.

“We made improvements from the last couple of games – we were conceding far too much. Wexford were undefeated but we could have made a draw out of it. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be.

“We gave Limerick the freedom of O’Moore Park the last day and we had to up our workrate.”

Kelly added that Laois changed their approach to the game and that Cha Dwyer’s selection in the unusual position of centre-back made a difference.

“We had to take responsibility as a management – we got the set up wrong. The midfielders sat back a bit and the half-forwards dropped back.

“It was hard on Cha to play centre-back. He has been our top scorer this year but we felt if we upped our workrate in the forwards he could make a difference further back.

“We took off Cian Taylor and Ben Conroy near the end after they ran themselves into the ground. We can’t ask for any more than that.”

And while Laois will play Kerry next weekend – with a venue and time to be confirmed – in the relegation playoff, Kelly says that the main aim is the round robin stages of the Leinster championship which get underway on April 23.

Relegation Playoff

“Winner takes all next week,” he added. “But from now on I see the championship. We need to be hurling well,” he said before confirming that injured players Matthew Whelan, Stephen Maher, Ciaran Collier and Podge Lawlor are all still likely to be out injured for next week’s battle with Kerry.

Kerry were beaten by Offaly on Sunday and while three teams finished on two points, Laois and Kerry ended up in the bottom two positions on scoring difference.

They will meet next weekend with the loser being relegated to Division 2A for 2018.

The fixture details won’t be confirmed until Monday by the CCCC but it’s expected to be in Portlaoise given the GAA’s stipulation to give home advantage to the team who played the most games away from home during the season.

Laois were away three times with Kerry only away twice.

SEE ALSO – Laois hurlers push Wexford all the way in thriller

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Steven Miller is owner and managing editor of LaoisToday.ie. From Laois, Steven studied Journalism in DCU and has 14 years experience in the media, almost 10 of those in an editorial role. Husband of Emily, father of William and Lillian, he's happiest when he's telling stories or kicking a point.