Three clubs agree SFC amalgamation in Laois

Three football clubs - Annanough, Courtwood and Park-Ratheniska - have come to an agreement to field a team in the 2013 senior football championship, provided they get the backing of clubs in Laois at this month’s county board meeting.

Three football clubs - Annanough, Courtwood and Park-Ratheniska - have come to an agreement to field a team in the 2013 senior football championship, provided they get the backing of clubs in Laois at this month’s county board meeting.

The proposed new senior team, which will play as O’Moore’s, was finally agreed between all three clubs late last week, and it will not now include Barrowhouse, who had been mentioned as a possible fourth team in the early rounds of negotiations.

The challenge facing the clubs now, however, is to get the proposal through a full meeting of the county board, who will ultimately decide if the new team can compete in the SFC. A proposal to accept the team will have to go to the floor, after which clubs will be invited to vote on whether they are for or against it.

Should they get the required support, it will lead to something of a headache for fixture planners as it will increase the number of teams in the SFC from 16 to 17, and so a new championship structure will need to be drawn up.

Laois GAA have in the past encouraged teams to come together to play at the highest level, but are also keen to reduce the number of teams competing in the SFC, as too many clubs have struggled to be competitive in recent years.

For the three clubs involved in this proposed amalgamation, however, it could offer the only chance for some of their players to experience senior club football. Courtwood were relegated to the JFC last year, while Annanough and Park-Ratheniska have had no success in trying to make the step up to senior.

All three clubs could come up with quite a competitive side too, with current county panellist Niall Donoher (Courtwood) the most high profile of the players involved. Former Laois panellists Donal Miller and John Scully (Annanough) and Cathal Óg Greene (Park-Ratheniska) would also be in contention.