GAA Discussion > Laois

The Future for Laois Football

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Junior Ex Laoistalk:
After what we witnessed today and the horrible year we've had where do we go from here?
We now find ourselves in Div3 next season and more than likely playing without some of our more experienced players due to retirements, injuries, etc.
What do we do now, how do we stop the rot ??

High Fielder:
We can't do much when we have a CB in place who have made so many bad decisions and mistakes. Quirke will be the scapegoat here, but our problems have been obvious for many many years. Portlaoise got fat winning county titles and eventually shit their togs. They weren't developing and the rest of the clubs lost interest altogether. Knowing exactly how to fix everything would take a serious job of work, but for me, the CB need to piss off and let other people have a go. They have failed miserably. That's the starting point for me. No doubt about it.

Butch Cassidy:
Anyone have the review points from the last review? Interesting to see what actions have been completed. We seem to have these conversations every year but action is badly needed. Some points below that i believe we need to target

1) Schools football
When Knockbeg are going well, Laois minors go well. We badly need another Laois school(s) in the A championship. Maybe we should look at entering a Laois schools team. We need competitive underage teams year in year out to produce players to go on to senior football.

2) Games Development officers
For me this is a priority. We badly need more in the clubs and the schools. Portlaoise should have 1 or 2 given their population. Port/Mountmellick/Graigue should also have 1 and then clubs need to come together to get one which i believe is happening but needs to speed up.

3) Portlaoise
For me they've taken their eye off the ball. They had a serious run in the senior championship and one that we mightn't see again. When Portlaoise are going well, this filters down to Laois. They've produced some serious players for Laois over the years and will continue to do so but the well has run dry at the minute. Laois need a strong Portlaoise at all levels. They should be entering 2 teams in underage competitions given their population. Did moving the grounds out of the town impact them?

4) Football strongholds
It's a worry that there was only 1 Stradbally player on the team yesterday, none from Joes/Mountmellick/Ballyroan. Stradbally Parish Gaels used to be very competitive underage, had some great battles with Portlaoise when they had Quigley, Begley etc on it and we badly need them at the top table again. I'm just using them as an example because they are a great club, produce great players and would like to see them thriving again.

What are the playing numbers like at the clubs in the county? Laois has seen a big increase in population over the last 10 years. Are clubs seeing a similar increase?

5) Senior championship
No need for 16 teams. 12 is more than enough and then have 2 groups of 6. Having fewer teams will make the championship more competitive and will lead to a better standard of football. This will also lead to better teams playing intermediate and a better championship there too. I would also like to see area teams come together to give lads a chance to play senior championship.

I think we will be Div 4 next year and could well spend a few seasons yo-yo'ing between the two divisions.

There is very little talent coming through and we won't have any marque players. On the bright side we will be competitive in the Tailteann Cup.

It is surely not rocket science, player development is key. Laois had some great development squads under Sean Dempsey, surely he could be encouraged back. Some Laois clubs have been doing well at developing underage players, the likes of Roseanallis and Barrowhouse have come on a tonne over the last decade or so. All clubs should be given any resources need to help do the same so we can have plenty of players playing the game at juvenile level which will help feed development squads.

When Laois were going well at underage in 90s & early noughties the likes of Sean Dempsey had serious development squads and a culture was fostered which for a short term led to a constant conveyor belt of talented players. It seemed once the physicality of the Ulster teams came along we started to look for bigger physical players in development squads and smaller players may have fell through the net. But we need a plan in place to get this conveyor belt moving again, the fact that we have so many players in their 30s still as the mains players in the team clearly shows it has stalled badly.


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