Monday 18 December 2017

Plunkett left deflated by 'moral victory' as he looks for further strides

Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

LAOIS supporters left O'Moore Park happier than they have been for a long time after a Leinster championship game, but team manager Seamus Plunkett wasn't sharing in the general sense of satisfaction at having scared one of the big beasts.

"I'm not interested in moral victories or anything like that. We came to win," he said.

"I think that after today people will believe there are enough technically gifted hurlers in this county to make sure we can live in this company."

While Laois' huge effort may have surprised many observers, Galway boss Anthony Cunningham insisted that he had expected them to be as competitive as they turned out to be.

"Laois have been going very well this year and they did it again today. They were very gutsy – their tackling and work rate was first-class and they also took some fine scores from out the field. It's great for hurling to see Laois back playing like that," he said.

RUSTY

On the question of why Galway found it so hard to wear Laois down, Cunningham said his squad were a bit rusty but acknowledged that they would have to raise their game considerably if they are to have a chance of retaining the Leinster title.

"That game should bring us on a huge amount. Our use of the ball – especially in the first half – wasn't as good as it should have been," he said.

Plunkett admitted that Galway's quick response to Laois' goal was a massive setback as it left his side having to press forward again, which created further openings for the rapidly improving visitors.

That, combined with inexperience, ultimately left Laois with too much to do.

"We made some mistakes we wouldn't normally make. That cost us. It comes from inexperience. We were trying to figure out before today exactly where we stood. We now know that we can live in this company," Plunkett said.

Despite the scare it was a matter of 'job done' for Galway. Cunningham will, no doubt, be back in Portlaoise next Sunday to study the Kilkenny-Dublin semi-final, knowing full well that his side will have to play a whole lot better on July 7 if they are to retain the title,

"It's great to get a game like that. Last year we had a few easier games but we were tested all the way today. That should bring on the guys a huge amount, which is what we want," he said.

Irish Independent

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