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John Sugrue and Ross Munnelly celebrate at Croke Park on Saturday.

John Sugrue and Ross Munnelly celebrate at Croke Park on Saturday.

Encouraging signs for Laois

Satisfied to have earned Allianz Football League Division Four silverware at Croke Park, Ross Munnelly now wants Laois to deliver some strong performances in the Leinster Championship.

Munnelly was a key figure for John Sugrue’s team, who overcame Carlow at Croke Park on Saturday. Laois had defeated the same opposition six days previously to secure promotion and the title was added in encouraging fashion at GAA headquarters.

“We penetrated a little bit more than we did last week to get the scores on the board so we gave ourselves a little bit of a cushion,” the experienced Munnelly reflected.

“Towards the end for the last six or seven minutes when they had 15 behind the ball we were able to enjoy that cushion, to move the ball around, and to wait for them to come back out. There is no point in playing into their hands by doing what most of the other teams did throughout Division Four by letting them counter attack them.

“We are very happy, the really good thing for us is we went through the League unbeaten and we got silverware at the end of it. We are very realistic, the Leinster Championship, particularly towards the more competitive end of it is really, really, really cut throat stuff and we will want to improve over the next number of weeks.”

Munnelly, on the inter-county beat for a decade and a half is still delighted to represent Laois, who face Wexford on May 12.

“The body is good, I mind myself, I've always said playing for Laois is my priority, not just the nine months of the year you are in season, but the 12 months of the year,” Munnelly states.

“It is not a sacrifice, I do these things because I really enjoy playing for Laois. From my perspective it is far, far, far too long since we won a trophy.

“Although it is Division Four it is important to get more silverware, it is very important for the group of young players in there, to come to Croke Park to win. That is really important for the group.”

Manager Sugrue has made a positive early impression with Laois. “It is good to come up here to get what we were going after,” Sugrue commented. “Last week we got our promotion and here we got a bonus so it is good.

“We have tried to be different as a team and as individuals this year and it was epitomised with the work rate. Lots of fellas out on their feet to a great degree, but they were after doing phenomenal work. So it is a great tribute to the lads how they have knuckled down.

“Carlow are tough and sticky, they don't give up many chances, but I thought we tweaked a few little bits and pieces, it just seemed to work.”

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