Former Laois manager Eddie Brennan has spoken about his departure from the county, insisting it was a simple difference of opinion over the level of investment in the senior hurling side.
The eight-time All-Ireland winner led the O'Moore men to the Joe McDonagh Cup and a surprise preliminary quarter-final win over Dublin in his first season in charge in 2019 but they were beaten by Dublin and Clare in their 2020 championship outings.
When Brennan left the position at the end of November, it was assumed that the inadvertent publication of critical remarks he made in a conversation with GAA Hour podcast host Colm Parkinson had soured his relationship with the county board.
However, Laois chairman Peter O'Neill subsequently said the board had wanted the Kilkenny man to stay and, speaking to RTÉ's Game On tonight, Brennan insisted that the controversy over the off-the-record comments had been immaterial.
Eddie Brennan explains the main factor behind his decision to step away from the Laois hurling job on @GameOn2FM— RTÉ GAA (@RTEgaa) January 26, 2021
Full interview w/@mariecrowe @docallaghan4: https://t.co/iJHIIAYyyl #rtegaa pic.twitter.com/jtKt7kWQvx
"As a stand-alone thing, it happened and we moved on from that," he said.
"The main reason, the game-changer, centred around going forward.
"There was definitely a difference of opinion in terms of the vision that myself, Niall (Corcoran) and Tommy (Fitzgerald) had for the lads.
"The county board, for whatever reason, wouldn't support us on that.
"You're trying to keep moving forward. For the Laoises of this world to make the step up, you need to be resourced, and the level of support has to increase a little bit each year.
"There was a huge reduction in resources that were available to us and that was the simple reason.
"That's their prerogative. I'm well aware there isn't a big hole in the ground for teams to get money and a lot of county boards are struggling in the absence of club matches.
"It is what it is and you move on and learn from it."
Brennan has since taken the reins at Dublin's three-in-a-row chasers Cuala, though Covid-19 restrictions have prevented him from meeting his new group of players in person.
He believes the standard of club hurling in the capital is "quite strong" as evidenced by Cuala's provincial and national success in recent years.
But as for the county side's prospects of emulating their footballing counterparts' All-Ireland successes, Brennan says: "I think they're back a little bit at the moment.
"They're in a bit of a transition phase where they have a lot of young lads coming into that panel. Guys like Liam Rushe and Conal Keaney, were driving that forward and they're now the senior guys.
"They probably went very close when Anthony Daly was there. He built a really good squad. He instilled doggedness and that will to see something out and not give up.
"You're looking at young guys like Donal Burke and James Madden coming through. What Dublin now more than ever is a couple of more guys like that.
"What they always have, and what has always impressed me, is that their fitness levels are off the charts.
"They are a really dedicated bunch and when you have that all you need is to have the hurling in the right place."
"Kilkenny have definitely slipped back into the pack a little bit"
As for his native Kilkenny, Brennan admits that they have slipped from the dominant position they enjoyed in his own playing days.
"It's a difficult one at the moment," he said. "They have a massive season ahead of them.
"They have definitely slipped back into the pack a little bit.
"Paul Murphy (retired) is a huge loss. Colin Fennelly, stepping away at 31, is a funny one. At that age, the years mightn't be there for you when you come around the other side of it.
"It means that Brian Cody has to go find guys and get more out of the guys that are in there.
"He's obviously had a change in the backroom team as well. DJ (Carey) has stepped away and Conor Phelan has gone in."
Kilkenny did win a first Leinster title in four years before falling victim to a Waterford comeback last November.
There have been some muted suggestions that fresh leadership might be needed to restore Kilkenny to the summit but Brennan believes that Cody, who will lead the Cats for a 23rd season this year, has "more than earned the right to decide when he wants to go".
"No-one will be more disappointed than Brian with how that semi-final finished.
"He knows the drill. He is under a little bit of pressure but he'll do what he always and what he believes is right for the Kilkenny team."