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Laois Boss Confirms Team Have Moved On From 'Gary Walsh Furore'

Laois Boss Confirms Team Have Moved On From 'Gary Walsh Furore'
By Arthur James O'Dea
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Six wins from six games ensured that Laois will start next year's Allianz Football League in Division Three. A four-point win over Carlow in the Division Four final even brought some silverware into the equation.

Yet, with the opening round of the Leinster Championship only nine days away, John Sugrue is having to contemplate everything from a spate of injuries, to players leaving for America, and a social media nightmare.

When the Laois footballer Gary Walsh decided to air his thoughts on the not-guilty verdict reached in the highly-publicised Belfast rape trial, the county board decided that the best course of action was to suspend the county's free-scoring forward.

Speaking today at the launch of the Leinster Senior Football Championship, Sugrue confirmed that Walsh is once again involved with the county's panel. Describing the scrutiny that Walsh's tweet placed on Laois football, Sugrue was quick to put this down to the risks of social media:

If you dip your toe into the social media world, you're going to expect a big furore. A hundred people writing back a comment out of a population base of 300-400,000 seeing the comment to some degree or getting some coverage of it.

It looks big when you get that kind of reaction but that is social media for you. We had a stance that week on how we want the players to behave themselves with regard to media and with regard to concentration and focus and that was unfortunately outside of our boundaries that we set out.

Then the consequences are what they are. I suppose Gary has been mature and he's taken it and hopefully we'll move on from that now. But we've moved on, that's done and dusted, there's no issue as far as I'm concerned.


Looking ahead to their opening tie against Wexford, Sugrue is having to manage his resources very carefully.

With "two young guns" Colm Murphy and Robbie Piggott spending the summer in America, Eoin Lowry and Evan O'Carroll are looking equally uncertain for the clash in Wexford; O'Carroll carrying a hamstring injury that leaves him looking "fairly certain to miss" out.

Of course, another player Sugrue is going to have to do without is Daniel O'Reilly. The victim of a serious assault in Carlow town at the beginning of April, Sugrue revealed that O'Reilly has been "laid up for a long time now which is very tough on him."


A harrowing incident for the team to handle, Sugrue confirmed that "the squad were big enough [and] mature enough" to deal with it as well as could be expected:

It is a significant blow to Danny himself as an individual and to his family and to his little fella at home, who's the biggest concern for all of us, Danny and everybody else, is his little young fella at home.

Danny's back, he's in good form, he's hopefully going back to work shortly. He's a great fella, he's a great lad to have around the place.

He's a really bright and enthusiastic young fella with bundles of energy. We'll try and get him using his energy in a physical sense again in the short term future.

With so much to consider on and off the pitch at the moment for Laois football, Sugrue will undoubtedly look forward to just getting things back underway in 9 days time.

See Also: Tommy Walsh Is Very Confident About Kilkenny's Prospects This Year

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