Sport Gaelic Football

Thursday 28 August 2014

One field as good as another, insists O Flatharta

Donnchadh Boyle

Published 04/07/2014 | 02:30

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Laois manager Tomas O Flatharta says his side need to forget the fact they are playing away from home. Photo: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
Laois manager Tomas O Flatharta says his side need to forget the fact they are playing away from home. Photo: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

Laois face unfamiliar surroundings on Sunday in the qualifiers but manager Tomas O Flatharta will be expecting a similar result.

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After getting their season back on track with a battling home win over Fermanagh two weeks ago, the Kerry man will be expecting the same from his players as they travel to the south east to face Wexford this weekend.

"The way I see it, no matter where you are playing be it home or away or in Croke Park, it is a field," O Flatharta explained. "And you have to go and prepare well, have your plan, players have to know their roles. Getting emotional about whether it's home or away is neither here nor there. You just have to perform on the day.

"You have to put in the same work rate and do the same things and you have to work for the 70 minutes no matter where you are."

Both sides saw their Leinster campaign ended by Dublin, with Laois putting up a better show against the All-Ireland champions as they led at the break before being over-run on the resumption. O Flatharta was pleased with how his players reacted to that defeat and saw off the challenge of the Ernesiders, who were in contention right up until the final whistle.

"Before the last game I said that Fermanagh, like any Ulster team, are not easily beat and that they would come down fighting and that's exactly what we were expecting. But our lads showed a lot of character and fight.

"We got over the line because our lads were ruthless in everything they were doing until the very last minute.

"What we are trying to develop here is a team that has a lot of character and work rate and in this part of the campaign there is no safety net. It's straight knockout. I see these lads prepare and train and they put in a mighty effort and I'm very pleased with how they are moving."

The midlanders, who have a clean bill of health with the exception of Mark Timmons, plundered Wexford Park last year on their run to the last-12. And they could be on course for a similar lengthy run this year as they have been drawn on the favourable side of the qualifiers, though O Flatharta was quick to point out Wexford's merits.

"Wexford have a lot of experience in the team and a lot of young lads too so there is a good blend there. Looking at them against Dublin last Sunday, I thought they did put up a good performance in the first half when there was only four points in it.

"They have a win behind them as well. They beat Longford in the Leinster championship so, after –playing Dublin last weekend, it's great for them I suppose to have a game so quickly so they can regroup which they probably will do."

Irish Independent

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