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Broken beyond repair? A timeline of the Laois hurling crisis

There’s something wrong in the state of Laois. Here’s a round-up of what’s happened over the past few days.

Image: ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

IN THE BLINK-and-you-miss-it world of Laois hurling, it seems that four days can be an eternity.

All may not have been rosy in the O’Moore county before Saturday’s game against Cork in Portlaoise, but since then the whole sorry mess surrounding Brendan Fennelly’s team has just dragged on and on, with some of the main players seemingly intent on airing their dirty linen in public.

If you’re wondering where things stand at present, here’s a quick timeline of recent events.

The story so far

September 2010: Three-time All-Ireland winner Brendan Fennelly is appointed as Laois senior hurling manager on a one-year deal.

Saturday, 3pm: Throw-in at Portlaoise for the All-Ireland first-round qualifier between Cork and Laois.

Saturday, 3.10pm: After an early exchange of points, Laois take an 0-5 to 0-2 lead.

Saturday, 3.35pm: Referee James McGrath blows for half-time with Cork seven points in front, 3-09 to 1-08.

Saturday, 4.08pm: Goal for Cork.

Saturday, 4.09pm: Goal for Cork – you see where I’m going with this, right?

Saturday, 4.30pm: The final whistle goes, putting Laois out of their misery. Cork only managed to score 7-11 in the second half, running out winners by 10-20 Laois 1-13. My trusty Casio calculator tells me that’s a 34-point victory.


Saturday, 5.30pm: A tweet from the official Laois GAA account (@CLGLaois) states that Brendan Fennelly has resigned as manager of the county’s senior hurling team.

Saturday, 7:05pm: The Laois County Board subsequently clarifies that Fennelly has not resigned.

Sunday, 10pm (ish): RTÉ’s The Sunday Game air their post-match interview with the man who is (apparently) still in charge of the Laois senior hurling team.

“I found a terrible lot of disillusionment in it from day one really,” Fennelly says. “Players not wanting to play for their county.”

We’ve spoken a lot and had quite a few rows along the way, trying to get inside the players’ heads to see what they’re thinking and what their problems are. It’s very, very hard to get any of them to open up to us.

Tuesday morning: Former Laois hurler Tommy Fitzgerald becomes the latest to get his spoke in, slamming Fennelly in the morning papers.

“He’s bang out of order shifting the blame onto the players,” says Fitzgerald. “I’d lay it squarely on him and the county board for appointing him in the first place. It’s been a disaster from day one.

“Unless it’s right at the top, you’re going nowhere. Laois against Cork – how better prepared were Cork than Laois? You can only imagine.”

Tomorrow: Who knows?

About the author:

Niall Kelly

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