Laois senior football boss John Sugrue has hailed the attitude shown by veteran Ross Munnelly which led to his surprise recall to the starting team on Saturday evening.
The Arles-Kilcruise forward’s only championship appearance before that was as a late second half substitute in the dying moments of the Leinster semi final defeat against Meath.
However, the 36-year-old, who had not played in the wins over Westmeath or Derry, was chosen from the start in place of Evan O’Carroll and he kicked two points before being replaced by Eoin Lowry after 47 minutes.
Speaking afterwards, manager Sugrue explained how Munnelly has reacted to not playing over the last number of weeks.
He said: “Ross got his nod and fully deserved it. He has had to bite his lip a couple of lately when the starting team has been named.
“But he has bit his lip, he has got out and he has been on the training ground earlier than other fellas. He is practicing his frees and he is really pushing himself in training.
“Guys who get that scenario put in front of them have got to react positively and Ross reacts that way pretty much all of the time.
“He has got a real appetite to play – and at 36 years-of-age, you can’t knock it.”
Looking ahead to Cork, Sugrue says things are different for his side this year as they have momentum from two Qualifier wins versus coming in off the back of a provincial defeat.
Sugrue said: “It is now we get into the thick of it and we will see next weekend.
“You would want a hell of a lot of momentum as a Division 3 side going into this weekend. It is going to be a serious step up for us. We’ll need every momentum that we have.”
The manager also responded sarcastically to questions about the potential of a new Tier 2 competition coming into force next season.
He said: “Maybe we should have Tier 2 and it would solve a lot of problems. It would keep games like these out of the Qualifiers.
“Forget about the people of Laois and Offaly for going to a nice game at the weekend.”
Laois take on Cork in Semple Stadium in Thurles at 5pm on Saturday July 6.