Let’s build on this, urges Brennan

Eddie Brennan has done a few laps of honour around Croke Park in his time but he had never witnessed anything like this.

Let’s build on this, urges Brennan

Eddie Brennan has done a few laps of honour around Croke Park in his time but he had never witnessed anything like this.

While Kilkenny reserved theirs for days in September when All-Ireland titles had been won, Brennan’s Laois players were swapping rounds of applause with their fans on their jog around HQ on the back of an All-Ireland quarter-final defeat in mid-July.

Different counties, different contexts but this one meant every bit as much.

Maybe more.

“Players that play inter-county level on the back of that, and the guys inside there in the blue and white jerseys of Laois, that should make them champ at the bit to come back in October, November, whenever it is you’re back. That’s what brings you back.

“This is where the big learning is. These are the days that are the cruellest but you learn the most from.

"Individually and collectively they have to go away and reflect on that and say: ‘Right, where can we be in 12 months’ time’.

“You’d have to say next May you’d be looking forward to a Leinster campaign where no-one in that group is going to take us for granted.

I’ve certainly never seen a team get a standing ovation like that before. Fair play to them, they’re acknowledging the supporters.

"I know we don’t often see that in the GAA but it was good for the lads to acknowledge it. There’s a good bond there now and one is supporting the other.”

The hope is that Brennan sticks around for long enough to help this Laois team secure its place in these heightened environs.

He touched on the long-term nature of this project here when remarking on the lower S&C base Laois are working off compared to the bigger and better teams. He knows this is just starting.

Two or three more years of that sort of work and it will stand to them, as it has to Wexford who embarked on a similar road under Davy Fitzgerald.

That’s the reality of where they have come from and yet there was still disappointment here that this year’s journey has ended after all the distance travelled.

That it would come to a halt yesterday was never really in doubt.

Séamus Callanan of Tipperary in action against Jack Kelly and Ryan Mullaney of Laois. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Séamus Callanan of Tipperary in action against Jack Kelly and Ryan Mullaney of Laois. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Tipperary, though below their best, were always that bit too slick for Laois and the sending-off of Aaron Dunphy after the break for a swipe of the hurl at Padraic Maher merely made it that bit easier for the Munster side to go about their business.

It was certainly no game changer, although Brennan did query the card.

“I would have a take that it wasn’t seen but these things happen. I have seen it inside and, yeah, there was a bit of contact with the hurl.

"I have been on the receiving end of those loads of times and I have never seen a lad getting sent off, but it is not going to be a case of saying that was the reason (Laois lost).

“It certainly made our task really, really difficult. And at that stage, you are even going, you could be in for a long evening.

"In fairness to the lads, they stuck at it, went at it and just when you are coming down the straight in a match like that and this is where experience kicks in.

"Your experience gets you through that, and your bit of craft and your bit of know-how will get you through it.”

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