First post here so go easy on me. I used to post on the old Laoistalk forum. Recognise some old names here and I recognise some who have changed their usernames.
I think a lot of my posts on the old forum were defending Justin McNulty and also saying what a mistake it was to get rid of him. I think everyone accepts at this stage that it was a huge blunder and the results before and after his reign proves this. We had a team that was fit, strong, organised and most of all competitive. It wasn't all perfect but it was a lot better than what we have now.
He was ran out of the county because we in Laois were too good for that 'Northern style' football, we have natural, classy footballers, let's go out and attack teams! Well how did that go for us? We're now in division 4 instead of competing in division 1 or the higher part of division 2 and we've been knocked out by Clare, Antrim and Tipperary instead of running the reigning All Ireland champions Dublin and Donegal to a few points.
It's been a complete disaster of a move and let's not fool ourselves into thinking we had better players then. A lot of the players were the same and we didn't even have Donie when we were beating Monaghan and Meath in 2012. What would be the score against those teams now?
We have also seen in the last few years that everyone has accepted that you must organise yourselves defensively to compete, everyone! Dublin thought they could outscore teams at will and Donegal taught them a lesson, Kerry have had 'the blanket defense' for a good few years now. It's time we in Laois copped ourselves on.
Despite the myth that it's not in Laois players psyche to play defensive football, it clearly is the best method for us to compete. Defending in numbers and counter attacking at pace with Donie and another player playing inside is what we're best suited too. Our best performances in the past few years have all been when using this system.
We have the players to do this. With O'Connor, Attride (when fit), Begley, O'Loughlin, O'Carroll, Donagher, McMahon, Meaney, Strong etc we have the mixture of power and pace to cause teams trouble. We are also struggling with quality backs so an organised defensive system is an obvious solution. If we can get everyone fit and focused we could even do well in this years championship.
Creedon hasn't made a good start but we should give him the championship to make a judgement. It's obvious to all that we don't have many players coming through but that's a separate issue to the current senior team. The development of players has to be done at a young age and we need serious change to how we go about this but the manager of the senior team has to work with what he has and Creedon has to do better than he has up to this.
There have been a lot of injuries though, get them right for the championship and implement the right system and I think we'll have a similar campaign to what Tony thinks above.