'Offaly are building some momentum' - Egan
Published 23/02/2016 | 02:30
Having let a three-point interval lead slip against Laois on Sunday, and playing with 14 men for the last half hour, the Offaly hurlers looked set to endure a familiar fate.
But a new-look Faithful side drove on in the face of adversity to win by five, something which delighted new captain Colin Egan.
At 27, the Belmont forward is one of the elder statesmen and having suffered some harrowing losses in the green, white and gold, he knows what a win can do for a team low on confidence.
"It's huge," Egan said. "When you're playing inter-county everything revolves around hurling, winning or losing affects your mood a lot. It's so much easier to get up out of bed in the morning and go to work when you win. You're in good form.
"Team morale would've been down after another loss and it would've been hard to build it up again. But with a win, now we have some momentum building.
"Our backs were to the wall and we showed character. In the past we've been in similar positions and we spoke about that in the dressing-room. We spoke about lads emptying the tank and thankfully we stood up."
Before the league commenced, Offaly targeted wins against Laois and Kerry so two points "relieves pressure" and they're aiming for further points before hosting Kerry in the final round.
Under Eamonn Kelly, time has been devoted to raising the bar and becoming consistently competitive again. "He has a set of standards and it's taken things up a notch," the No 11 said.
"He's no-nonsense and has a ruthless approach to things. He's been successful in the past and lads are really buying into it."
Their work ethic has been criticised in recent years and while Egan acknowledges that they were AWOL in terms of inter-county preparation over the last decade, he believes the corner has been turned.
"There's been a huge emphasis on work-rate, I'm a huge believer in it at every level and you need to get 15 lads doing it. It's not rocket science but it works. Last year we were in a DIY gym which wasn't up to scratch but new standards have been set," he said.
"We need maintain them now. We have GPS systems and they tell us how we're performing. We probably got left behind with training techniques and standards; inter-county teams have been using them for 10 years, but we're there now.
"You know where lads are at and you can compare your results to lads that are playing in your position, and lads in other positions. When you're game plan is all about work ethic, this is huge. There's no hiding place with the GPS."