Butler comes on board as first steps taken in hurling recovery

Laois GAA have pulled off something of a coup after it was confirmed that Paudie Butler, the National Hurling Coordinator with the GAA, will take an active role within the county in a bid to improve coaching standards.

Laois GAA have pulled off something of a coup after it was confirmed that Paudie Butler, the National Hurling Coordinator with the GAA, will take an active role within the county in a bid to improve coaching standards.

Butler has taken up the position of ‘Master Coach’ in the county, and has already begun drawing up a coaching programme to be circulated around to secondary schools in the county. It is hoped he will have the programme drawn up in the next week to ten days.

By Rory Delaney

Once that programme has been put in place, Butler will then be available to offer coaching courses to club juvenile coaches around the county. Butler’s appointment, which has been cleared with Croke Park, comes on the heels of the publishing of the Laois Hurling Report for 2011, in which is was alluded to that Butler be brought on board in a similar position.

It is proposed that a new four-region coaching structure be implemented, with a hurling centre of excellence and director of hurling also being put in place. It is also intended to have four full-time coaching staff for hurling in the county.

Butler is currently splitting his time between his new role with Laois and his commitments with Waterford, where he works with the centre of excellence.

Speaking of Butler’s appointment, Laois GAA Chairman Brian Allen outlined the role he will have within the county.

“He has started setting up a coaching programme for schools, and he hopes to have that done up in the next week to ten days, and we hope to have that out with the teachers before the competitions start.”

Allen also revealed that Butler would be meeting with club coaches in the future also. “He will move onto clubs after that (the college programme) and initially it will be working with juvenile coaches, but anyone who wants to come in and be upskilled is more than welcome.”

The county board chairman also pointed out that those who take part in the course will be expected to get involved at club level once the courses are completed.

“We will be monitoring the people who come in, to make sure they are coaching when they are finished, because that hasn’t always been the case.”

In other hurling news, the make up of the committee which will begin the search for the next Laois senior hurling manager has been revealed. The process and committees used for appointing managers in the past came under scrutiny in the aforementioned report, and this time, a four man hurling-specific committee has been appointed.

Pat Critchley (Portlaoise), Andy Dunne (Clonad) and Kieran Delaney (Camross) will be joined by Brian Allen in locating a successor to Brendan Fennelly.

For a more in-depth look at the findings of the Laois Hurling Report, which was circulated to clubs last week, see this week’s Leinster Express

Plus coverage of the Senior Hurling Championship action from last weekend.