After a year of much progress in 2019, highlighted with a championship win over Dublin and an All-Ireland quarter-final appearance, much focus will be on Laois hurlers in their quest to deliver even greater things in the months ahead.

However injuries to Éanna Lyons and Mark Kavanagh and the unavailability of Charles Dwyer, Stephen 'Picky' Maher and Ben Conroy (a trio who are unlikely to feature in 2020) have threatened to undermine the ship just as it's about to set sail.

Eddie Brennan oversees the whole venture, and while disappointed that he hasn’t got the strongest possible hand to deal with, he nevertheless is keen to exploit the talent pool within the county.

Essentially, he is getting on with things. Last Saturday evening, Laois lost their match in Division 1B of the hurling league against Wexford. As is often with those wearing the underdog tag, the O’Moore County were competitive and, above all, dogged in shaping up to Davy Fitzgerald’s side. Yet, come the final whistle the winning margin was 11 points.

Assessing the game and where his squad are at at the moment, Brennan told the RTÉ GAA Podcast: "There were a lot of things that pleased me. I think Wexford rolled out three players short of their strongest team. We were all over the place in the first 12 minutes with Wexford's running game.

"Once we settled down and adapted to it we performed well. I'd be more than happy with how we figured them out and how we managed to punch holes in their defence. We left scores out there in the first half."

"We have players that have opted off the panel. It's disappointing that you don't have the best guys available.

"The most important thing is that you have lads that want to be there, that are brave enough to commit to the set up and that are going to give it their all."

"We have a nice blend at the moment, a lot of guys in the 19-22-age bracket – Podge Delaney (pictured), Liam Senior, Fiachra C-Fennell and James Keyes. And then experienced lads like Enda Rowland, Paddy Purcell & Willie Dunphy. That blend will hopefully see us build on what we did last year."

Podge Delaney pursues Wexford's Seamus Casey

After Wexford, Laois have games against Dublin (Sunday next) and Kilkenny as part of their league campaign. Good preparation them for the summer’s championship.

"Against Wexford, we were a good bit down the line in terms of physicality and that’s a good barometer to take into account heading into the championship," he added.

"Playing three of the four teams we’ll face in Leinster during the spring is ideal.

"Wexford brought in fresh legs last Saturday and that was crucial. They played a smart game. We have to learn to be smart. Under Davy (Fitzgerald) are in year four of their development, we’re half way through year two. You won’t put five or six kilos of muscle onto guys in that period of time."

"Yet, you look at where Wexford were five years ago and where they are now. Maybe there’s a template there to work off. There’s a great appetite for hurling in Laois, but all the stakeholders need to buy in."

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