Last Monday, the worst fears of all Laois fans were realised when it was revealed that captain Stephen Attride had suffered a horrific injury.
The Killeshin defender clattered into Carlow’s Ciarán Moran in the dying embers of the semi final win and was left with a double skull fracture, 25 stitches and a serious concussion.
He has made a good recovery since – and it was certainly encouraging to see him at the event for supporters and players on Saturday – but he will not play on Sunday.
And speaking ahead of the final against Dublin, manager John Sugrue revealed that he still expects Attride to play a big part.
He said: “Stephen is paying a big price. He’s a man’s man that fella. He’s proper and he’s got the right stuff inside him.
“It’s very unfortunate. We’re going to miss him, that goes without saying.
“Stephen is resting this week and he’ll get back involved with us and he’ll have a big part to play, no doubt, outside the white lines, and he’s very well capable of doing that.”
Looking ahead to the game, Sugrue indicated that his team would not sit off Dublin and simply defend.
He said: “We’re going to play Dublin as a Laois football team, they way we want to play them, and we’ll see where that gets us.
“Dublin are going to be a different proposition, there’s no hiding from that. But we’re building and we’re measuring ourselves against opposition.
“We’re going to go after this one and try and set ourselves up to be competitive in the game, and to be competitive in the game you have to have an intention of winning it and not just try to stay in it.
“Carlow shipped 19 points (against Dublin last year), I think. Now we’ll see after the next day how it will turn out but if you play 15 behind the ball and ship 19 points you’re probably not going to win a game. So that doesn’t look like the formula.”