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Messages - County Man

Laois / Re: 2024 Joe McDonagh Cup
June 15, 2024, 12:27:26 PM
Looking back on last Saturday, it was great to have Laois on TV in a national final with great exposure and a really competitive battle which unfortunately we came out the wrong side of it.

Despite the 18 wides, it comes back also to the old adage that goals win games. They came as a real tonic to Offaly. We got the goals back in April and they got the goals last year in Tullamore.

We showed great fighting spirit to back from 5 points down early on to get level and especially to come back from 7 down in the second half. Paddy Purcell and Aidan Corby put in immense performances as did our captain Aaron Dunphy.

Today we have a free shot against Wexford. Nobody is giving us a chance and in fact there are a lot of hurling "experts" from Munster counties who think we have no business being here and would much prefer if Galway and Waterford were playing Cork and Wexford today. Don't forget that last year they attempted to remove the link between the Joe McDonagh finalists and the All Ireland series.

To win today would be nothing short of sensational having not beaten Wexford in the championship since the mid 80s but hopefully today we can be at least as competitive as possible and give some of the "big boys" something to think about.
Laois / Re: Laois Senior Footballers 2024
June 02, 2024, 09:17:37 PM
A brave, spirited team performance yesterday against Fermanagh that just fell short in the end. On a warm afternoon in Longford, the lads left everything on the pitch.

Rioghan Murphy brought great energy for the whole game and won the penalty that was brilliantly converted by Mark Barry. Evan O'Carroll's goal was superbly taken with a great direct ball in by Damon Larkin who had an excellent game. We turned Fermanagh over a number of times throughout the game and they really had to earn their victory.

Paul Kingston chipped in with scores of the highest standard. I was impressed with both Dylan Kavanagh and Seamus Lacey's contributions also.

So New York next week in the preliminary QF. It could be a chance for some of the panel members to put their hand up for selection for what should be an away quarter final the week after. The panel has definitely been strenghtened in advance of next year's division 3 with lads well able to contribute when brought on. Yesterday I thought that Mikie Dempsey in particular did well when coming on.

I'd love a go at Kildare in a quarter final. A local derby, a decent crowd and a championship atmosphere. Obviously they would be favourites but I'd love to see where we're at. They only really saw off Leitrim in the last 10 minutes in the 2nd game yesterday in Longford and I'd be hopeful that we could really test them.

Laois / Re: Laois Senior Footballers 2024
May 21, 2024, 01:24:40 PM
Good to get out with a win in Aughrim to get our Tailteann cup campaign back on track. We can give Fermanagh a crack to attempt to top the group on the June bank holiday weekend and get staight to a quater final. If we don't win we will still advance to a preliminary quater final.

A defensive game on Sunday where the result was in doubt right to the end. Rioghan Murphy was excellent again as he was against Carlow. Simon Fingleton had a fine game also. We didn't concede any goal opportunity to Wicklow but we had a goal chance ourselves early in the second half, Mark Barry with a decent effort which was saved.

The area to improve on is to try limit our mistakes and reduce turnovers. It is good that we have a minimum of 2 more games so hopefully we can improve again the next day out.

Laois / Re: 2024 Joe McDonagh Cup
May 20, 2024, 12:57:29 PM
Huge congratulations to all on reaching the Joe McDonagh final with a game to spare.

June 8th promises to be a fantastic occasion with a big crowd expected especially with the double header with the Leinster final.

I read earlier that it will be the first senior hurling game between Laois and Offaly at Croke Park since 1997.
Laois / Re: Laois Senior Footballers 2024
May 01, 2024, 01:58:33 AM
Looking forward to the Tailteann Cup and hopefully, like last year we can have a good run at it.

We'll have Carlow at home to start, a team that have not beaten us in league or championship since 1988. We played them in the league back in February and had 11 points to spare.

A week later, we go to Aughrim to face Wicklow. They will be going for 3 competitive wins in a row against us having beaten Laois in last year's division 4 and in the Leinster championship of 2022.

Round 3 will take place in the first weekend of June. We will face Fermanagh in a neutral venue. We got the better of them last year in the Tailteann Cup in Enniskillen so it should be a good battle again.

If we manage to top the group we would have a home quater final. Second place would gain us a home preliminary quater final.

Laois / Re: Laois Senior Footballers 2024
April 21, 2024, 11:13:13 AM
Looking back on the game v Offaly, we can have no complaints with the result, they throughly deserved their win.

In the opening 20 minutes we were hesitant and not tuned in. Offaly went 0-7 to 0-2 up. We were unlucky with Damon Larkin having to go off and the sending off of James Kelly which looked harsh to me, a yellow card would have been enough. We did extremely well to get level by half time, good character shown there.

Overall the gap between Division 3 and 4 showed amd in fairness, Offaly have some fantastic players. Next year for year 2 of Justin McNulty's reign, it will be vital that we stay in division 3.

As for the remainder of this season, lets try have a good run in the Tailteann Cup. I believe the draw for it is in 2 weeks with the first of the 3 group games on May 11/12th. There is plenty to play for yet.

Laois / Re: 2024 Joe McDonagh Cup
April 21, 2024, 10:57:27 AM
This is the 7th edition of the Joe McDonagh Cup having been launched back in 2018. Every year it has delivered as a very competitive competition and I'm sure this year will be no different.

Certain Munster hurling "snobs" try to belittle the Leinster hurling championship  let alone the Joe McDonagh. There needs to be more coverage and promotion of the smaller teams as the "big fish" get enough coverage as it is. Thankfully the link with the Liam McCarthy Cup remains despite an attempt last year to remove that link. Who can forget the famous day we beat Dublin in 2019 and got to contest and All Ireland quater final against eventual champions Tipperary.

As for this year, a massive game awaits today. Best of luck to Willie Maher and his men for this campaign. The ambition obviously has to be an appearance in the Joe McDonagh final on June 8th and see what we can achieve from there.
Laois / Re: Laois Senior Footballers 2024
March 24, 2024, 07:10:04 PM
Congratulations to our footballers on promotion to division 3.

Fermanagh, Kildare, Clare, Sligo, Antrim, Offaly, Laois and Leitrim will make up division 3 next year.

Didn't make it to today's game but 5-19 is some scoring!

Our full forward line of Mark Barry, Evan O'Carroll and Paul Kingston are very strong. They were excellent against Leitrim last week also with some fantastic scores especially in the first half.

My take on last weeks game was that Leitrim were ravenous, it was a championship game for them. We had the safety net of today's game and still could have got a draw with Mark Barry's free striking the post.

Ryan O'Rourke was brilliant for Leitrim last week so he will take watching in the division 4 final. Hopefully we will bring a crowd to Croke park because Leitrim certainly will! Back in 2019, they brought a massive crowd to their division 4 final v Derry. I'd be very confident that we will win next Saturday.

Looking ahead to championship, we have Offaly on April 13th. That should be a cracking local derby and a really good test. The aim would be to win that, try to give a good account of ourselves v Dublin and then have a good run in the Tailteann cup in May/June.

Laois / Re: 2024 Allianz Hurling League
March 24, 2024, 10:23:57 AM
Congratulations to the hurlers on promotion to Division 1B.

A bit of silverware to play for next week against Carlow before the massive game against Offaly on April 20 in the Joe McDonagh cup.
Laois / Re: Laois Senior Footballers 2024
February 28, 2024, 02:44:39 PM
Have to say we were very fortunate to come away with the 2 points but we'll take it!

The strength of the panel is key. Eoin Lowry, Kieran Lillis and Sean O'Flynn made key impacts when they came on. It was pleasing that we found a way to win with those 3 late scores. Great team spirit.

Evan O'Carroll is massive for us. Our main man. We struggled for sure when he got the black card.

Shooting will have to improve the next day. A lot of scorable chances missed v Tipperary. We have to be more ruthless as the season goes on.

Still plenty of positives. 4 wins from 4, very much in the driving seat for promotion. Ben Dempsey, Brian Byrne and Shaun Fitzpatrick had good games again.

At this point, we have the next 2 games at home v London and Leitrim. Hopefully good support shows up again like against Carlow and Tipperary and we can continue our winning ways.

Laois / Re: 2024 Allianz Hurling League
February 28, 2024, 02:09:25 PM
Carlow were full value for the win on Saturday night. They were impressive with a team much bigger than ours and an excellent half forward line. They were much more accurate than us on the night as well.

This was a proper test for Laois as we get ready for the Joe McDonagh cup. Glad that Ross King will be available in mid March. At least we should be ok for Division 1B hurling next year as 2 teams go up from our division.

It promises to be a fantastic McDonagh cup and this is where the season will be judged. Seems that Offaly and Westmeath are motoring well. There should be great battles against them. Looking forward to it.

Conway had a good solid game at corner back and both Enda Rowland and Paddy Purcell showed what important players they are for us.

Laois / Re: Laois Senior Footballers 2024
February 18, 2024, 03:50:51 PM
Another fine win last night v Carlow in front of a sizeable crowd in O'Moore Park. Anytime you win by double digits is a good day out.

Conditions were poor with the rain and the  town end side of the pitch in particular was in a bad state with a lot of players slipping and sloppy underfoot conditions. We were playing into the town end in the first half and it would have contributed to our slow start with a couple of poor shots and frees going astray.

We had a purple patch though in the last 10 minutes of the first half with some lovely scores to get 5 points in a row to pull level with Niall Dunne grabbing two of them which will do his confidence no harm at all. Carlow did deserve their lead at half time, 0-6 to 0-5 having started well and they kicked some good scores.

The second half was very impressive from us. A good range of scorers, Shaun Fitzpatrick stepping up again with 2 points, Kevin Swayne getting a good goal after a great ball by Eoin Lowry, a fine team move for Damon Larkin's goal, Mark Barry chipping in and of course Paul Kingston and Killian Roche. Brian Daly got a nice score near the end.

Good competition for places with the subs doing well. Fine defensive work again and good organisation with Carlow only adding 3 points in the 2nd half.

We are motoring well so far and go to Tipperary next Sunday.

Laois / Re: 2024 Allianz Hurling League
February 13, 2024, 11:54:45 AM
Listened to the game on Kfm. Seemed to be a competitive battle and sounded like Martin Phelan and Jer Quinlan had good games. I read that it is the first time since 2011 that we scored 3 goals in half a game of hurling in the league.

Good to be back winning games, reminds me of 2013 when we were last in division 2A under Cheddar. We won the 2A title that year and ended up running Galway close in the Leinster championship.

Looking forward to going to the next game v Carlow on the 24th. Will be a good test. Carlow in my opinion would be on a par with both Westmeath and Offaly.

Some result for Offaly down in Wexford park. Westmeath competitive with Limerick, although a weakened Limerick outfit.

Ultimately, this year is about the Joe McDonagh cup. It falls nicely in that we have Offaly in our first game and Westmeath in our last in the group stages. We're building nicely towards it.

Laois / Re: Laois Senior Footballers 2024
February 04, 2024, 09:18:30 PM
Very comfortable win in Wexford in front of a huge crowd. Certainly didn't expect it to be so easy.

Great to see a lot of different scorers for us during the game. Shaun Fitzpatrick had a fantastic game with 1-2. Evan O'Carroll is really playing a captain's part with super scores, great workrate and even a bit of great defensive work to snubb out a Wexford goal chance.

Workrate is key this year. Fitness levels are high and players are working hard for each other and supporting each other. Very pleasing to see. Most of the scores for Wexford were hard earned.

Killian Roche was superb again with 5 frees, the best one being the last one way out near the sideline. Seamus Lacey was powerful in defense. Damon Larkin had to go off injured at half time and we really missed him in the 2nd half. He is becoming a huge player for us.

We had a couple of missed goal chances as well so we were full value for the 10 point win. Excellent performace all round.

Carlow up next at home in round 3.

Laois / Re: Laois Senior Footballers 2024
January 28, 2024, 01:35:03 PM
A thoroughly deserved win against Longford. A lot of twists and turns lie ahead though in a very competitive division four with 4 or 5 teams chomping at the bit to get out. We started last year with a fantastic win away against Sligo. It will be a tough assignment next Saturday evening in Wexford.

It was a game that we controlled for the most part, the only real worrying moment was when Longford scored their penalty to bring the margin back to 1. We responded brilliantly though with 1-2 without reply started by an excellent team goal superbly finished by Damon Larkin who also got 2 points in the first half and was immense. A mention to for his midfield partner Conor Heffernan who also put in a good shift.

Killian Roche was unreal scoring 5 points, 3 from play. His kickouts were also good and he pulled off a fine save late in the first half. Great to see James Kelly back he has really matured and got on a lot of ball especially in the first half. Ben Dempsey made a super interception in the first half and great to have Seamus Lacey back from injury.

The half back line were solid. Great to have Brian Byrne back from long term injury, the return of Eoin Buggie and Timmo plugging away again for another season! We may have a number of lads missing from last year but great to see some returnees. Dannny O'Reilly came on late in the second half.

Our captain Evan O'Carroll was constantly dangerous and got a beaufiful score in the first half. He was backed up well by Mark Barry and Niall Corbett. Our half forward line ran all day and are pacy.

We have good options on the bench and I also hear that Paul Kingston, Kieran Lillis and Padraig Kirwan are involved but out injured at the moment.

Fitness levels looked decent and there was a lot of running and support play. A good crowd was in O'Moore park last night, certainly up on previous years.

Great to see Justin back in charge and Ross Munnelly there beside him.

Well done to all involved.