Laois senior hurling manager Brendan Fennelly has stepped down from his position after just one season in charge.
Fennelly tendered his resignation to an executive meeting of the Laois County Board on Monday night, and the process of finding his replacement will begin in the coming weeks.
Fennelly endured a turbulent nine months at the helm of the Laois senior hurling team, during which time they missed out on a place in the Division 2 final and suffered heavy championships defeats to both Antrim and Cork.
Speaking of Fennelly’s decision, Laois GAA Chairman Brian Allen admitted it had not come as a surprise. “We were expecting it, and I know he was disappointed with how the year had gone.
“He couldn’t understand why players would not play for their county. He tried to get players in, but the harder he tried he just couldn’t them in. for some players club commitments were their first call.”
Fennelly standing amongst many players and clubs was weakened further after he hit out at both following the defeat to Cork. In interviews after that game, he shone the light on some fo the problems he had faced during his tenure as Laois manager, and once the comments were made, Allen agreed that it was always going to be difficult for him to remain in charge. “He was on a hiding to nothing, but we now have to make the decision as a county as to how we move on from here.
“I believe there is only one way we can go and that is if we all get behind it, because it is going to take a lot of hard work and time to improve the perception that playing for the county is not important.
“Brendan couldn’t believe that there were players who would rather play for their clubs, and that they didn’t want or feel the need to play for Laois.”
The task of finding a new manager comes at a time when Laois GAA is trying to sift through the raft of proposals and ideas to improve hurling in the county which came from the recent Laois GAA Hurling Forum. A special committee will be set up to review the findings of that forum, and that will take precedence for the time being.
While many supporters would like to see a new manager in place for the club championships, Allen declined to put a time-frame on a potential appointment. “We are not going to rush it, we have one chance at this, to put a long term management structure in place, and we want to do it right.”
The committee to review the findings of the forum has yet to be appointed, with Allen confirming that the final make up of the panel is nearing completion as he awaits word back from potential members. No decisions have been made as of yet regarding the futures of minor manager Seamus Plunkett and U-21 manager PJ Peacock, with committees expected to be appointed over the next few weeks to oversee managerial appointments.
Allen also confirmed that hurling appointments would be looked after by people from hurling back grounds, and football appointments would be looked after by people from football backgrounds.