Latest Laois News: Laois Hurling gets slice of ‘Cheddar’ on top
By Evan Treacy & John Hayes
Laois Hurling has gone back to the future in their quest for continuing improvement and success. The managerial role for the Laois Hurlers has been given to Seamus ‘Cheddar’ Plunkett. Seamus played with Portlaoise for many years and also for the Laois Senior Hurling team, making his debut back in the 1980-81 National league campaign. The Portlaoise clubman has a lot of experience to offer the county set-up as this is his second stint as Senior Hurling manager.
The contrast between where the O’ Moore men find themselves now and when Plunkett first took over the county side could not be starker. Back in late 2012 Plunkett was part of a sub-committee tasked with finding a successor to Teddy McCarthy. McCarthy’s tenure had been scarred by unmerciful beatings at the hands of both Limerick and a then high-flying Dublin side. Plunkett ended up in the post and was assisted by Castletown GAA’s Paul Cuddy amongst others.
The new managerial ticket did well to revitalise the county setup. So much so that the 2011 drubbing on a score line of 10-20 to 1-13 at the hands of a rampant Cork outfit was soon consigned to the dustbin of history by Plunkett’s charges. Indeed that 2012-2014 Laois vintage had chances to take down Galway in successive championships.
Back to the future now and this time around Plunkett brings in a strong backroom team. As a successor of Eddie Brennan there will be a lot resting on his shoulders and that of his management ticket. The former Kilkenny great led Laois to a wonderful win over Dublin in the 2019 championship. An agonising 1-point loss at the hands of Clare followed the following year. Indeed such was the improvement of Laois in Brennan’s two-year stint in charge that many Laois supporters were disappointed in losing to the Banner men.
Now Laois Hurling needs to look to the future. Ex-Limerick coach Donach O’Donnell, and former Laois football and Kerry U20 boss John Sugrue are named in Cheddar’s management team. Former Galway coach Francis Forde comes on board as hurling analyst, Leo Tiernan and David Matthews are the strength and conditioning coaches and Arthur Dunne will be the side’s nutritionist. Conor Bolton joins Sugrue in the physio department, with JP Campion the doctor involved.
Best of luck to you all in 2021. Hopefully the county’s hurlers will take the scalp of a few ‘big guns’ in the Championship and keep the game here on an upward trajectory.