Monday 11 December 2017

Attride admits Laois need to step up performance for Clare clash

Attride had not recovered in time to play in the recent defeat to Kildare, but until his sending off on Saturday evening at sun-splashed Aughrim he was full of energy and was contributing handsomely to the Laois cause. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Attride had not recovered in time to play in the recent defeat to Kildare, but until his sending off on Saturday evening at sun-splashed Aughrim he was full of energy and was contributing handsomely to the Laois cause. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Liam Kelly

Liam Kelly

Laois captain Stephen Attride has shrugged off his second-half black card dismissal against Wicklow and is looking forward to the SFC 2A Qualifier clash with Clare.

Attride was the proverbial thorn in the side of Wicklow last Saturday, with his roving raids forward and covering back, but he fell foul of referee Barry Cassidy early in the second-half.

"With the black card, I don't know really what to say. I thought it was harsh enough, but that's the way it goes," observed Attride.

"Still, I was glad to get 40 minutes in the bag coming back from injury."

The 23-year-old Killeshin clubman had suffered a recurrence of an ankle problem in the O'Moore County's Leinster Championship opener against Longford.

Earlier in the year he missed a month of league action after injuring the ankle in a Division 3 encounter with Antrim.

Attride (right) had not recovered in time to play in the recent defeat to Kildare, but until his sending off on Saturday evening at sun-splashed Aughrim he was full of energy and was contributing handsomely to the Laois cause.

A game which looked set to end up being a one-sided affair turned into a near miss for Wicklow, as they hit two late goals and lost the match by only three points.

"That's a wake-up call for Laois. Aughrim is a tough place to go and with the qualifiers you can never guarantee anything, so it's always good to come out with a win," said Attride.

"There's a good bit of room for improvement. We played all right for the first 25 minutes and then we kind of took the foot off the pedal and they came back into it in the second-half. We nearly threw it away then," he said.

Laois were saved by their overall quality and the strong physicality they brought, plus their ability to get scores.

Manager Peter Creedon was not pleased with the level of turnover ball won by Wicklow, particularly in the later stages of the first-half, but his team showed a good level of self-belief that saw them through to the next round.

Next up is Clare, who beat Laois in the qualifiers in Ennis last year.

"We were in the driving seat against them last year. It was nip and tuck and they just edged it at the end. We were very disappointed last year, but that's the way football goes sometimes," said Attride.

"We know Clare. We played them in a practice match earlier in the year and they are a good side, with good players. We'll have to keep an eye out, but, most importantly, keep improving ourselves."

Creedon's first league campaign proved disappointing, as Laois won only twice, and lost five times to drop down to Division 4.

The former Tipp manager has, however, gained the confidence of the players.

"We just rowed in behind the manager and his game plan, and we're very pleased with the set-up," said Attride.

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