Both Borris-in-Ossory and Kilcotton will compete in the 2011 SHC as one club after their amalgamation was rubber stamped last Friday night.
The clubs agreed a deal in time to meet last Friday's deadline, and have confirmed they will field teams at Senior, Intermediate, Junior 'A' and Junior 'B' level, competing under the name Borris-in-Ossory-Kilcotton. The clubs have also agreed on a new jersey, which will be red, green and white, while they will switch between both club grounds for training and playing matches. Both clubs will also retain a Junior football team, in much the same vein as Rathdowney-Errill did when they joined forces back in 2005.
Speaking of the amalgamation, Borris-in-Ossory chairman Cathal O'Donnell admitted it brings to an end a hectic few weeks for both clubs. "We have been very busy over the last few weeks. We set up a sub committee with four people from each club and we have had about 12 meetings between all of us, and we're just delighted it has gone through."
The new club will not hold an AGM until next year, as they have instead opted to nominate ten members from both Borris-in-Ossory and Kilcotton, with new officers and a new committee to be formed from those 20 people. A new manager has not yet been appointed either, and that process will also have to begin in the near future.
Speaking on behalf of Kilcotton, current chairman David Bergin admitted to having mixed emotions on the matter. "I suppose it's sad in a way, there is a lot of history there, but you have to feel that this is the way forward, and hopefully it will be good for the future. There is a lot being let go, Kilcotton are one of the oldest clubs in the county, and Borris-in-Ossory have been around a long time as well, but we have to try and move on. There is a lot of work still to be done."
One of the knock-on effects of the clubs amalgamating will be a re-structuring of the senior championship, as it has now been reduced to 11 teams. Laois GAA chairman Brian Allen confirmed that there will be a CCC meeting this week to discuss what format the championship will take this year, as it is hoped to ultimately put plans in place to reduce the championship to eight teams. "The general opinon would be that we need to make the championship more competitive", explained Allen. "In the long term, we will probably look to reduce the championship to eight teams, but we will go to ten for starters."
That could be bad news for Abbeyleix, who thought they had earned a reprieve from relegation after Camross won the IHC back in October. That may no longer be the case, however, as Allen confirmed the county board still have the option to relegate them to the Intermediate grade. "There was a relegation game played, and the CCC have the right to decide on relegation, although we will probably go with 11 teams."
With Borris-in-Ossory-Kilcotton also planning to enter an Intermediate team, it could lead to complications in the IHC as well.
It's not the first time the clubs have joined forces, having competed together as St Ciaran's back in 2002, ironically the same year they met each other in the Intermediate final. The move for a full amalgamation started back in October of last year, when an informal meeting drew much support for the idea, with both clubs forced to hold EGM's afterwards to put the proposal to members.
The success of the club's combined juvenile teams have been behind the upsurge in interest of a senior amalgamation, as they had won the last two Minor and U-16 'A' championships, as well as contesting this year's U-21 'A' final with a very young team. County players Brian Stapleton, Matthew Whelan and Neil Foyle will be some of the big names on the new team, and they will be looking to make an immediate impact when they line out in competitive action for the first time later this year.