Laois selector Niall Corcoran insists that Dublin’s conquerors will have no problem returning to terra firma after yesterday’s shock win as they look to regroup for next weekend’s All-Ireland quarter-final against Tipperary.
The Midlanders had just seven days to prepare for this two-point win in O’Moore Park, but they brushed aside any talk of mental or physical fatigue to storm out of the blocks and then stuck the pace on a bright and warm day to claim the county’s biggest championship win in over 30 years.
“Tipperary now, that is going to be another huge challenge,” said Corcoran. “We’ll have to try to get our feet back on the ground. You’re looking at a squad who have huge confidence after today. We’ve a very young squad and why not give it a go? We’ll be underdogs again, but why not give it a go?
“They showed that they can hurl their way out of trouble and hurling is what it’s all about. They thought their way out of trouble and that’s everything we’ve worked on since last October. These are the games you want. The Joe McDonagh was great, but these are the games you want to be playing, in Croke Park. That’s what the group wants.”
The quick turnaround from McDonagh Cup to this preliminary Liam MacCarthy Cup quarter-final was a bone of contention all week, but Laois never indulged in a sense of victimisation and were intent on celebrating last week’s second-tier success.
Manager Eddie Brennan let the players loose to enjoy their achievement on Sunday night and they were out again on the Monday evening when spotted on the streets in a uniform-for-the-day of Hawaiian shirts before returning to ‘work’ on the Tuesday in preparation for yesterday’s game.
Unorthodox as it was, it worked.
“Pure and utter ecstasy,” said goalkeeper Enda Rowland. “These are the days you dream of. This is why we play the game. This is probably the best day in Laois’ hurling history. I know we’re only in a quarter-final, but that’s massive for us.
“It’s set up for a team that’s in the Joe McDonagh to lose in the next game, but when we seen the draw, no disrespect to Dublin, we said: ‘Anything can happen here today’, and that was proved out there.”