Their local commentators
If success were measured by the fury of a county's' local commentators, then Laois would have to be considered a fabulously successful county. I have had cause to turn over to the fine station Midlands Radio on many an occasion, invariably to find out how some match or other is going.
I have yet to turn on a game and not hear them berating a ref for a series of 'disgraceful' decisions, all of which, quite coincidentally, seem to go against Laois. The 2013 Leinster hurling championship game against Galway was a case in point. Galway Bay FM adopted a stately tone, praising Laois for their stout effort, while adopting a highly critical approach to their own team. Little was said about the ref. Over on Midlands Radio, they did everything short of call the ref a bollocks live on air.
Every game is the Battle of Aughrim on Midlands Radio.
Indignation is a powerful tool in motivating teams. If the indignation and sense of siege mentality common on Laois radio could be harnessed in the dressing room before games, they will blow everyone away.
Karma still owes them for '95
We are closing in on the 20th anniversary of this noble act.
Meath have largely suffered since they failed to offer Louth a rematch after Joe Sheridan's perfect goal in the final moments of the 2010 Leinster final. They got well beaten by Kildare the next day out (historically a rare occurrence) and in the years following they have made little progress, though last year saw some green shoots. How different did the county of Laois react when scandalously good fortune came their way.
In 1995, Laois faced Carlow in the opening round of the Leinster championship. The game was level in the final moment, when substitute Mick Turley collected the ball, swivelled and shot, sending the ball wide on the near side. The umpire, however, showing a presence of mind characteristic of that species, decided that he was waving that white flag and there was nothing anyone was going to do about it.
Carlow manager (incidentally a former Laois footballer) Bobby Miller went nuts, sprinting across the pitch and almost manhandling the umpire. Back in 1995, RTE had some new-fangled technology called 'the slow motion replay' which was used to great effect to demonstrate unequivocally that the ball was wide. The sporting folk on the Laois county board, headed up by Jack Nolan, decided to offer a re-match. They won the game 1-16 to 0-16.
They've won one Leinster title and a few minor All-Irelands in the intervening years. Its not enough. They're owed more.
Laois is the mecca for iconic GAA nicknames. 'Wooly', 'Cheddar', 'Beano', 'Picky', Laois is in thrall to the nickname. Nicknames demonstrate familiarity and tend to proliferate among stronger counties (a study in the States said that. Don't try and find it). The Clare hurlers triumphed in the 90s with 'Sparrow' in the team, the 'Bomber' adorned Kerry's side in the 70s and 80s.
The nickname fetish is entirely logical. Calling out someone's full name in the heat of a game is time-consuming and distracting. Laois players' admirable concision when referring to each other is definitely a help rather than a hindrance on the pitch.
Read more: Balls Remembers: Kerry - The Lost Years... 1987-1996