Home GAA Enda Rowland: “This Is Probably The Best Day In Laois’ Hurling History”

Enda Rowland: “This Is Probably The Best Day In Laois’ Hurling History”

The scenes in O’Moore Park at the full-time whistle proved just how much this win meant to Laois. 

After a 14-year absence from Croke Park, the county will return to GAA headquarters next weekend for the second time in two weeks.

Though last Sunday saw them climb the hallowed steps of the Hogan Stand to lift the Joe McDonagh Cup, next weekend will mark Laois’ first All Ireland quarter-final in 40 years.

Not since the county’s provincial football win 16 years has Laois experienced such a fruitful period and huge credit must go to the players and the new management team led by Eddie Brennan.

Eddie Brennan

One man who was instrumental to their win on Sunday was goalkeeper Enda Rowland and the 24-year-old could not hide the joy on his face following the final whistle.

“Pure and utter ecstasy. These are the days you dream of. This is why we play the game. This is probably the best day in Laois’ hurling history. I know we’re only in a quarter-final but that’s massive for us.

“It’s set up for a team that’s in the Joe McDonagh to lose in the next game, but when we seen the draw, no disrespect to Dublin, we said anything can happen here today and that was proved out there.”

It was fitting that Rowland was the scorer of the game’s final point, the insurance score that saw Laois claim the famous victory over Dublin.

His tally of two points on the day brought his overall total of scores to 52 points.

“I knew the minute I struck it, I threw it up right, I got the strike right and I said I knew it was going well, then when I seen it passing the half-way line, I knew it was going over the bar. It was unreal, it was a massive part of the game to get the score so thankfully it went over.

“When they go over from that distance, under the stand on days like that, you know it’s your day and you need all your luck on days like these. It went our way today.

“A lot of goalkeepers hit frees, I practice them a lot so I’m expecting them to go over.”

Given that Laois deservedly spent the early part of the week celebrating their win over Westmeath in Croke Park, many had written them off before the ball was thrown in.

The underdogs tag appeared to fuel Brennan’s side who came out all guns blazing and physically dominated their Leinster rivals.

Even when Dublin brought the game back level in the 54th minute, Laois never panicked and soon restored their lead. Their work rate and confidence were evident throughout and they were two factors that Rowland believes got his side over the line.

“We were confident coming in. Look it, I know everybody says that, but we genuinely believed that we could do it. We knew what we had to do and we stuck to our game-plan. That was just work-rate and work-rate, and if it was right, we knew it would work.

“Dublin brought it back level and every Dublin supporter must have been thinking, aw we have it now but the guts and determination to get that next score, two up, three up. Credit to all the lads out the field, it was absolutely savage.”

Laois will now face Tipperary in the All Ireland quarter-final in Jones’ Road next Sunday and their opponents will once again be installed as heavy favourites.

But that fact doesn’t bother Rowland in the slightest.

“Tipperary next week, I can’t flipping wait!”

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About Marisa Kennedy

Marisa is a Digital Journalist with Pundit Arena. She is a former reporter with Sporting Limerick and is a huge fan of the GAA. You can contact her at marisa@punditarena.com or on Twitter