Eddie Brennan: I just can't understand lads that do not want to hurl for their county
New Laois hurling manager Eddie Brennan has said that he cannot understand club players that would refuse the opportunity to hurl for their county.
The eight-time All-Ireland winner was confirmed as the new Laois manager in September with both Niall Corcoran of Dublin and Limerick’s Dave Moriarty joining his backroom team.
Laois suffered a convincing 2-23 to 1-18 loss in the second round of the Walsh Cup on Sunday and Brennan has had to make do without a host of eligible players with last year's captain Ross King, Cahir Healy and Ciaran Collier all declining to play for the county in 2019.
Brennan said that King's departure was fair enough but questioned why other players did not want to join the intercounty panel.
"Ciaran opted not to come in. You can talk to lads all your want but to me, look, it’s very disappointing," Brennan told Midlands 103.
"It's just something I do not get. I just can't understand why lads would not want to hurl for their county. To me if you excel with your club there should be a drive and a gra to do that and I think it's something that I suppose, and I said it from the start when I came in here, I think it's something that has to be challenged a little bit. I don't know. That frustrates me.
"If lads don't want to come in there's no guns to their head, there was certainly going to be no pressure from my side of things, I don't think anyone should be begged to come in and play for their county but I'll go back to the guys that are in here at the moment.
"They've given us an honest account so far and I'd be more than happy with what we have at the moment and you'd love to have all the best hurlers in Laois but I have the guys that are willing to roll up their socks and represent their county and I think that takes courage to come in and represent your county when that backdrop is there.”
The Laois job is Brennan's first intercounty appointment after he previously guided the Kilkenny U21 side to the 2017 All-Ireland final. He replaces Eamonn Kelly who left the role after the disappointing Joe McDonagh Cup campaign.
Laois will play Waterford and Galway in the opening two rounds of the league next year and Brennan is under no illusion as to the challenge that his side will face in Division 1B.
"It is certainly being thrown in the deep end and as such the emphasis then is on getting the most out of our training time between now and then," Brennan told the GAA Hour next month.
"We have to have the Laois hurlers ready to take on those challenges. I think that's the one thing that you have to have a bit of belief that you can get on a bus and head to Galway, and I know as a player Galway can be a hard place to go to to get a result, you'll be under no illusion what's facing you but you have to go there and learn a bit about yourself and I'll be trying to get the players to embrace that.
"You have to focus on training to make sure they're ready to take on that challenge and that's all you can do at this point in time."