The 2014 GAA season will begin in earnest this Sunday afternoon, as the Laois senior footballers travel to New Ross to take on Wexford in the opening round of the O’Byrne Cup.
It will be new manager Tomas O Flatharta’s first game in charge, and he will be up against a side Laois have enjoyed plenty of success against in recent time, having beaten them in both league and championship in 2013.
While this is the time of year for resolutions, Laois GAA supporters will be hoping the county senior football team will resolve to play a more entertaining style of football under the new management team.
Colm Begley admitted in a recent interview that the style used under Justin McNulty was not enjoyable to either play in or watch, and with attendance figures dwindling to alarmingly low levels in recent years, winning back some of those supporters would be a welcome boost in the New Year.
That won’t be the immediate concern this weekend, however, as Laois travel to New Ross to blow off the cobwebs and get some much-needed game time under their belts before a very competitive Division 2 league campaign begins.
The games will be coming thick and fast over the next couple of weeks too, as this weekend is the start of three games in eight days for the squad.
After Wexford on Sunday, Laois will welcome Offaly to O’Moore Park on Wednesday night at 7.45pm, before rounding off the round robin phase of the O’Byrne Cup with a game against UCD in Portarlington at 2pm on Sunday, January 12.
It’s a tough schedule for the panel after little to no football played in the last two months, but it should at least afford the new management team a chance to run the rule over the entire squad.
The hurling season doesn’t begin until January 12, when Seamas Plunkett and his squad welcome NUI Galway to Rathdowney for the opening round in the O’Byrne Cup.