Offaly minor hurling manager Leo O'Connor says that last night’s Leinster minor final win over Laois is another step in the rejuvenation of Offaly hurling.
Offaly beat Laois in Portlaoise last night to win a Leinster minor title for the first time in 22 years.
On Sunday the senior team can take another step closer to the Joe McDonagh Cup final if they beat Carlow.
"We had a huge crowd watching us last night and I would love to see those supporters get behind the senior team again this weekend," O’Connor told RTÉ Sport.
"Things are looking up and steady steps are being taken. Supporting the senior team is key now.
"At underage level Martin Cashin has done a lot of good work at coaching level in Offaly and Carina Carroll is driving that now.
"The minor final win is definitely another major step for us but there is a lot of hard work still to be done. The good thing is that from what I have seen of the county board there is a willingness to do what is needed.
"The crowd supporting us was a major help to us and it’s vital the seniors get the same support because you see the rejuvenation of Offaly hurling now."
O’Connor says the maturity of his young side is what impresses him most.
"The way they perform, the way they carry themselves in every facet of their lives, their willingness to train. They just really are a good bunch of lads," he adds.
On a general level O’Connor says it’s hard to know whether Under-17 or Under-18 is the best format for players of this bracket.
"Personally speaking, they are probably more mature at 18 level, their strength and conditioning work has stepped up and they are just a little bit more developed.
"I have seven players who will now face their junior cert exams but with this age cohort you meet all sorts of these issues on a regular basis. At 16 or 17 they will face junior cert exams. At 18 there will always be leaving cert exams and at 20 there will be college exams.
"I feel under-18 would suit better for minor but there are issues across all the levels and you just have to deal with them and get on with things."