The Laois senior hurlers are looking to put a disappointing 2018 behind them and improve in 2019.
And one of their defenders – Borris-Kilcotton’s Colm Stapleton – is hoping that extra work he has put in in the gym will stand to him in 2019.
He said: “I’ve been working in the gym. I’ve found over the last few years that I was a bit small for it.
“So I’ve been doing a lot myself and with the group here also. Now with the weather not great, you might as well get the fitness up and get the running in.
“So you try to improve every aspect of your game. Your diet is important. Getting down the body fat percentage at this time of the year is vital to make sure you are in good nick coming into the league campaign.
“If you don’t do things off the pitch – like the pitch sessions and have a proper diet – you are going to have no chance against the teams we will be playing in Division 1B.
“So personally, and I presume for every other player on the panel, putting in the hard graft off the field as much as on it is just as important.”
Stapleton also opened up about the requirements of being an inter-county hurler.
He said: “It is pretty much everyday. If it is not a session, you might be just at home doing a bit of stretching or foam rolling to get every percent extra that you need to get yourself to be the best you can be.
“It is almost full time but I don’t mind that at all. It is great to have goals to improve yourself as much as possible because other lads will be doing small bits that you don’t know about and you need to be upping your game as much as they are.”
Laois take on Offaly in the Walsh Cup on Sunday in Birr at 2pm and Stapleton is raring to go.
He said: “We’re looking forward to it, we definitely want to build and improve from what happened last year and definitely show that we are much more capable than what people have seen, and just build up our performances and each game, just get better and better.”