Home Sport GAA Hurling captain King ‘relieved’ to win after ‘bleak first two weeks’

Hurling captain King ‘relieved’ to win after ‘bleak first two weeks’

An extremely difficult few weeks for the Laois senior hurlers finally abated as they defeated Antrim on Saturday.

It was Eamonn Kelly’s first win in the Joe McDonagh Cup as the manager after defeats to Westmeath and Kerry in the previous two rounds.

Captain Ross King was inspirational on the day – notching 12 points – and speaking to Midlands 103, he revealed his relief.

He said: “It was a big relief definitely and it brings a smile back to lads faces as much as anything

“It was a bleak enough first two weeks so it is just great just to get the winning feeling back.

“Wins are at a premium being a Laois hurler, especially this year. We have had three wins this year and they are all against Antrim. But hopefully we can get a few more under our belts in the next two games.”

A defeat in this game would have left Laois staring at the prospect of a drop to the Christy Ring Cup and King knows the importance of this win.

He said: “There was a small bit of negativity around Laois hurling the last few weeks especially. We believe we are capable of beating all the teams but on our day we can be just as poor as we can be good.

“So it is just frustrating that in the first two games we weren’t putting in the performances that we are capable of doing.

“So we are delighted to go up to Dunloy and win twice this year – both by a point as they are such tight games.

“I don’t know how we are able to do it up there but we are enjoying a bit of a purple patch so long may it continue.”

Laois have been decimated with injuries and suspensions during this campaign but King paid tribute to two of the younger members of the squad.

He said: “We were five up and then they got the goal and then a point.

“But Paddy McCane came on and won a valuable free towards the end.

“Jake Creagh came on and caught a ball with virtually the last puck of the game. Antrim were putting us under serious pressure but Jake went up and caught a ball on his debut.

“There must’ve been six or seven hurls up around him on our own 2. But he caught it and then cleared it and then the whistle went.

“Little things like that towards the end of the game were the difference.”

The equation now for Laois is simple, they must win their remaining two games against Carlow and Meath to have any chance of making the final.

King said: “All we can do is look after ourselves. We have to win the next two games and permutations are permutations, we don’t know what way it will leave us.

“We want to get a bit more pride into ourselves, don’t fall flat again and hurl to our potential.”

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.