Laois's 2019 season came to an end on Sunday as Eddie Brennan's outfit went down fighting against Tipperary in Croke Park ultimately losing out 2-25 to 1-18.
The Joe McDonagh Cup champions played their third game in three weeks just seven days after delivering the shock of the season when they beat Dublin in O'Moore Park. The quarter-final loss was not without spirited resistance and speaking in his post-match interview, Brennan hailed his player's attitude.
"They could have thrown in the towel, and taken the mother and father of a beating. But they're better than that, to be fair to them. They are a great bunch of lads and they really stuck at it today and that's one thing that pleased me most."
As the team gathered on the field to share a moment with their supporters on Sunday, it reflected a fitting conclusion to a great season. Waterford boss Derek McGrath outlined as much on the Sunday Game.
"In the ruthless quest for winning, sometimes we get lost in the whole element of sportsmanship and honesty and all the values we associate with our game... It's important to recognise the warmth and connection between supporters and players."
Speaking to Balls.ie, Laois dual star Cahir Healy outlined the long-term results he hopes comes from this year's success.
Everyone is on a high. It is a wonderful occasion for people who have been involved in hurling in this county for years. A lovely boost for the work done. It's brilliant for the kids and the county. But that won't sustain Laois. It won't push them on to a higher level. It will give them a selling point.
The correct structures have to be there. The amount of games they get has to be there. Look at Laois and their schools, clubs, We need to build on what happened.
But there can be short-term consequences as well. As a player, Tommy Fitzgerald amassed 50 All-Ireland senior hurling appearances for the county. He's currently a selector on the coaching ticket and the Laois legend took to social media to issue an astute suggestion for the current players.
100% agree . We’ll said @fitztommy14 . Great year for ye and a just reward. pic.twitter.com/49Sd1jHieB
— Brendan Bugler (@brendanbugler) July 15, 2019
Given the commitment to continue with overseas endeavours but the pressing lack of genuine game development within the county, a trip to America would be deserved recognition for a team that demonstrated how the gap could be bridged.
In 2018, Limerick, Wexford, Cork and Clare got the opportunity to participate in the Fenway Classic competition. In 2017 it was Galway, Dublin, Tipperary and Clare. This year Laois have demonstrated with immense hard work it is possible to compete with those sides, they should be rewarded for that.