LAOIS hurlers will not be found mentally wanting against the Dubs this Sunday — but they must up the physical ante to have any chance of surviving, predicts their manager, Niall Rigney.
Rigney has called on his players to put bodies on the line when they tackle Dublin in Nowlan Park, with a Leinster semi-final place against Kilkenny awaiting the winners.
“Anthony Daly would have been happy enough with the league, and playing at the pace of Division One hurling is a huge advantage,” the Laois boss conceded.
“I think Dublin are going to push us hard early on and have a serious go in the first 15 minutes because they might think we are mentally weak, but I don’t think we are.”
However, Rigney is calling for a marked improvement on the performance that saw Laois limp to a six-point win over Carlow 12 days ago.
“We have to up the physical side of our game — and I don’t mean be over-physical, just to mark tightly and be very disciplined,” he told the Leinster Express. “Dublin play the game at a higher pace and we have to limit their possession as much as we can.
“We have to put our bodies on the line in Sunday’s game if we want to win, and it’s probably the biggest request I’ve asked for from these players. Sunday will be an experience for the players, and hopefully it will be a good experience.”
JJ McHugh returns to the Laois panel this weekend, having missed the entire league with a knee injury, but Brian Stapleton’s battle of wounded knee is still keeping him on the sidelines.
Frank Roche- E Herald