Eddie Brennan wins EirGrid Manager Moment of The Month for July after leading Laois past Dubs
When Laois hurlers beat Westmeath in the Joe McDonagh Cup final in Croke Park in late June, the celebrations were in keeping with a team that had hit their main target for the season.
Winning the Tier 2 title was a considerable achievement in itself and also came with the added bonus of entry to the Leinster Championship next year.
First, though, there was an All-Ireland preliminary quarter-final against Dublin to be played.
Matched with such highly-rated opposition just a week after the Joe McDonagh Cup success, it looked like a bridge too far for Laois. Enter their manager, Eddie Brennan, complete with the fierce competitive spirit honed as a member of so many great Kilkenny teams.
He concentrated on re-setting the focus of a Laois squad who had clearly bought into his persuasive ways. What followed on July 7 was one of the best days for Laois hurling in many years as they beat Dublin by two points, a win which qualified them for an All-Ireland quarter-final for the first time in 40 years.
"I am getting credit, but I don’t want it. The players are the ones who drove it on," said Brennan.
The squad presented a far more generous version of his contribution, outlining how he worked so hard at instilling a winning mentality, irrespective of the odds confronting them, while also devising a plan to give them the best chance of winning.
It worked to the letter against Dublin and earned Eddie the EirGrid Manager Moment of The Month for July, chosen by former Dublin football manager Paul Caffrey, former Tipperary hurling manager Michael Ryan and Irish Independent GAA editor Martin Breheny.