PJ Peacock will be the new manager of the Laois U-21 hurling team after he was confirmed at Monday night's county board meeting.
Peacock will be joined by Tommy Kenna of The Harps and Rosenallis' Declan Conroy on his management team, while he also revealed former Laois footballer Mick Lawlor has been lined up to take some training sessions when he assembles his panel.
The previous training ban meant U-21 panels could not convene until May 1, but that has since been changed to March 1, so Peacock and his management team can get to work in the coming weeks and months as they try to form a panel for the season ahead.
Speaking of his appointment, the Abbeyleix man admitted his first job will be to instil a competitive streak into his players. "I'll be telling the players exactly where they are, we haven't won a game at U-21 level for 11 or 12 years.
"We'll have to get the lads playing to their best and get them competing. We want them to have a bit of pride in themselves first and foremost."
Peacock comes into the job having previously acted as selector with Niall Rigney for three years on the senior panel, while he also worked with Ricky Cashin at U-21 level for three years.
He has high hopes for the coming year, and his decision to bring Mick Lawlor into the fray shows he's intent on trying new things as part of his management brief. Due to the changing face of hurling, Peacock feels Lawlor can bring valuable experience to the table. "The way hurling has changed, you need a football ethic to the way you play, so Mick will be working on tracking back and players funnelling back in defence.
"He's delighted to come on board and he's a different voice for the players to listen to, he'll provide a different angle in training. The work ethic that's in football is not there in hurling."
Another thing which could potentially make Peacock's job of picking a panel that bit easier is the decision from Laois GAA to hold the U-21 championships in March and April of this year. With competitive games to gauge his players, Peacock welcomed the decision. "It means we'll be able to get out and go to matches and see how players are performing."
Laois exited the U-21 championship in disappointing fashion last year, losing at home to Carlow in the first round. This year, Laois have a bye to the semi-final, where they will face either Wexford or Kilkenny away.
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