On Saturday night, it was Laois doling out the punishment, although Galway were much more pitiful than Ó Flatharta’s men had been against 2012 All-Ireland champions, when a second-half sending off was the catalyst for their collapse.
Coming on the back of a victory over Louth in Drogheda, it provided evidence that Laois might be making advances but Ó Flatharta was remaining level-headed.
“It was a good performance,” said the Kerryman. “It was an improvement from the Donegal game and further improvement on the Louth game and that’s really what we’ve been looking for.
“We spoke about [intensity] throughout the week and I think they were relentless throughout the game. They worked very hard for each other all over the field. I thought the full-forward line played well. Midfield were getting their hands on the ball an awful lot in the first half and our defending had a good shape. That was pleasing.
“We played against the wind in the first half and battened down the hatches a bit. We were a few points up at half-time but when you start going ahead a bit, the opposition get a bit deflated and the game opened up a bit.
“It’s very important that we keep our feet on the ground now, that we don’t get carried away with that. It’s only the [first] of March and while we’re happy with the improvement, we have an awful lot to go.”
Only two points separated the sides when Kevin Meaney goaled in the 31st minute and it was 1-7 to 0-5 at half-time. Donie Kingston had shown very well in the first half and continued to do so in the second, until having his day cut short by a black card at the three-quarter mark.
The long-serving Ross Munnelly also stood out but in truth, Laois were superior all over the pitch, and with the wind at their backs, they added 13 second-half points to three from the side once managed by Ó Flatharta.
“We’ve done a lot of fitness work in the last few weeks,” explained the Laois boss. “Again in the second half against Louth they showed a lot of character and throughout today they worked very hard for each other.
“We have a big game against Armagh next weekend and they racked up a big score against Meath. That is a crucial game for us.”
Scorers for Laois: R Munnelly, D Kingston (0-4, 2fs) each, K Meaney (1-1), G Walsh (0-3), D Strong, D Conway (1f) (0-2 each), J Finn, B Sheehan, J O’Loughlin, A Ryan (0-1 each).
Scorers for Galway: S Armstrong (0-2, 1f), G O’Donnell, A Varley, P Conroy, E Concannon, E Hoare, P Conroy (0-1 each).
LAOIS: G Brody; R Kehoe, M Timmons, P O’Leary; D Strong, P Begley, P McMahon; K Meaney, J O’Loughlin; J Finn, C Begley, B Sheehan; R Munnelly, D Kingston, D Conway.
Subs: D Booth for Kehoe (inj, 47), E O’Carroll for Kingston (bc, 53), G Walsh for Conway (58), P Kingston for Finn (66), A Ryan for Begley (66), D O’Connor for O’Leary (69).
GALWAY: M Breathnach; D O’Neill, J Moore, J Duane; G O’Donnell, P Varley, G Bradshaw; F Ó Curraoin, T Flynn; G Sice, S Armstrong, J Kavanagh; E Concannon, P Conroy, A Varley.
Subs: K Kelly for Duane (20), D O’Connell for Kavanagh (42), D Cummin for Concannon (46), G Higgins for Flynn (55), C Mulryan for Bradshaw (55), E Hoare for Ó Curraoin (60).
Referee: A Nolan (Wicklow)