After watching his side slump to their third league defeat in four matches on Saturday night, Sean Dempsey had no excuses afterwards.
Following on from the horror show in Navan seven days earlier, this was even worse. In Navan, the horrendous conditions were a factor; here Laois were completely outplayed and spent the evening chasing shadows as Cork did as they pleased.
“There’s no excuses,” he said outside the losing dressing room after the players had been retained for close on three-quarters of an hour. “It was our worst performance this year anyway. There were some good things you could take out of but there were so many negative things as well.
“Cork are a good team but we got the jitters early on. Cork got two goal chances and had they got them they could have got on the bus at half time and went home. We looked nervous from there on … we kind of got on track before half time and for a while after it but at times Cork just made us look very silly. Tonight we won some good ball, we worked hard to get it and then gave it straight back to them. It’s our own fault there.”
The eternal argument that Laois are just too small was also a talking point. “I think Cork are one of the biggest teams out there in terms of height. And they used them all out there around the middle of the field. We were going to be in bother there.
“We tried a few short kickouts and we got away with them as the game went on but Cork didn’t catch that much in the middle of the field. There was a lot of breaks there that we didn’t get.” But Dempsey was quick to add too that he doesn’t have much choice at the moment in terms of size. Noel Garvan was a late withdrawal because of injury while the likes of Donie Kingston, John O’Loughlin and Ger Reddin are all with the U-21s.
Yet Dempsey is hopeful that Laois will pull themselves out of this current mess. “I think things will pick up,” he added. “They’re good lads, they put a lot into it and they’re proud to wear the jersey. Maybe at times tonight it looked differently.
“The panel is always open,” he said when asked would there be any additions to the panel. “Just because lads get the gear doesn’t mean that they’re there for the year. If we think things aren’t working out for lads, unfortunately they’ll have to go.”
Meanwhile, Cork manager Conor Counihan was pleased that his side had maintained their unbeaten start to the season.
“We won’t get too carried away with it,” he said. “It’s two points in the bag, job done, no more than that. We played poorly last week and we were very disappointed with our performance. We told our lads we needed to up it a gear and fortunately there tonight we did up it.
“We’re disappointed that we let them into it before half time and then for a while after half time but fair enough we kicked for home but there were periods when we wouldn’t have been happy with our display.”
By Steven Miller
- Leinster Express