Home Sport GAA This day last year: Wild celebrations as Laois hurlers claim Joe McDonagh...

This day last year: Wild celebrations as Laois hurlers claim Joe McDonagh Cup glory

This day 12 months ago, Laois fans were in the midst of joyous celebrations.

The Laois hurlers defeated Westmeath to claim the Joe McDonagh Cup and, in the process, secure a place in the Leinster hurling championship for 2020.

There was plenty of blue and white to be seen around Croke Park with supporters in high spirits before and after the game.

And with Eddie Brennan’s side recording an impressive 3-26 to 1-21 win, Laois people had plenty to smile about.

It completed a remarkable turnaround in the fortunes of Laois hurling under Eddie Brennan as he has taken a side who battled relegation in this competition last season to glory in the space of 12 months.

Mark Kavanagh, in his first game back from injury since the win over Antrim well over a month ago, was the star of the show as he fired over 12 points while Borris-Kilcotton’s Aaron Dunphy chipped in with 1-4 and worked tirelessly throughout as Laois won by 11 points in the end.

The supporters came predominantly from the hurling part of the county and among those our photographer met outside the ground were great hurling folk like Theresa Keenan from Camross, John and Bernie King from Rathdowney (parents of Laois goalscorer Ross) and former great Willie Hyland from Clough-Ballacolla and his wife Eimear (a former Laois camogie star).

Eimear’s father Pat is the much-loved Laois kitman who lifted the trophy with Paddy Purcell after the game.

Eddie Brennan’s men then arrived back to the Midlands Park Hotel just after 8pm that night where they were treated to a hero’s welcome.

Chants of ‘Laois, Laois, Laois’ met the players as they disembarked from the bus carrying the Joe McDonagh Cup which they had won merely hours previously in Croke Park.

Our photographer Julie Anne Miller was in Croke Park where she captured the atmosphere before the game.

While our former reporter Siun Lennon was back in Portlaoise that night to snap all the homecoming celebrations.

Check out both sets of photos below:

THE GAME 

               

THE HOMECOMING 

    

                    

SEE ALSO – The Twitter reaction as the Laois hurlers claim Joe McDonagh Cup success