The Laois hurling journey for 2019 has ended but the memories will live on for a very long time.
However, manager Eddie Brennan has already turned his attentions to the 2020 campaign and believes his players will be ‘chomping at the bit’ to get going again in a few months.
Laois received a standing ovation from the crowd in Croke Park yesterday at full time and manager Brennan reckons that will having them edging to get back as soon as possible.
He said: “I’ve never seen anything like a team getting a reaction like that after losing a game. The fans were brilliant.
“I think players that play inter-county level on the back of that, and the guys inside there in the blue and white jerseys of Laois, that should make them chomp at the bit to come back.
“To be back in October, November, whenever it is you’re back, that’s what brings you back.
“This is where the big learning is. These are the days that are the cruelest, but they are the ones that you learn the most from. Individually and collectively they have to go away and reflect on that, and say where can we be in twelve months time?
“You’d have to say next May you’d be looking forward to a Leinster campaign where no one in that group is going to take it for granted.
“We have to take confidence from that, but also realise that there’s more work to be done, and there’s more games out there to be got.
“That’s the big thing for a lot of young guys in that dressing room and today is a very steep learning. You just have to say, what can we take from that? I’ve certainly never seen a team get a standing ovation like that before.
“Fair play to them, they’re acknowledging the supporters. I know we don’t often see that in the GAA, but it was good for the lads to acknowledge it.
“There’s a good bond there now, everyone is supporting the other and the other is performing to do what they do and represent Laois very well and that’s great.”
On the red card to Aaron Dunphy, manager Eddie Brennan wasn’t too impressed.
He said: “I’d have a take that it wasn’t seen, but these things happen. I’ve seen it inside, and yeah there was a bit of contact with a hurl.
“I’ve been on the receiving ends of those lots of times, and I’ve never seen a lad get sent off, but it’s not going to be a case of saying that was the reason.
“It certainly made our task really, really difficult. At that stage you’re going ‘Oh God, we could be in for a long evening’.
“To be fair to the guys, they went at it to a man. They stuck at it, they kept fighting. When you’re coming down the straight, in the match like that, and this is where experience kicks in.
“There was a good experience for the lads today. Your experience will get you through that, your bit of craft and your bit of know-how will get you through it.
“These things happen, unfortunately. As I said it probably did have an impact on us. It took the pressure off Tipp when we probably had been putting them under pressure at times. Look, they are a quality outfit, I’m not going to take anything away from Tipperary today.
“They did what they had to do. They, to be fair to them, did not take us for granted in any way shape or form. They stuck at it, and they’re deservedly through.”