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Players back Micko after ex-player's 'bluffer' slur

LAOIS footballers have supported their former manager Mick O'Dwyer, who was branded a bluffer by an ex-county star.

Colm Parkinson mounted an astonishing attack on the Kerry legend, who guided Laois to their first Leinster title in 57 years.

Speaking on Newstalk, Mr Parkinson branded Micko an "absolute bluffer".

"He's an awful man-manager. He has favourites. He could pass by subs and not even know them. He'd have three or four favourites and that's it," he said.

But several Laois players have come out in support of Micko.

Defender Joe Higgins said man-management was one of O'Dwyer's main qualities, and that every Laois player wanted to play for him.

Another, Brian McDonald, said O'Dwyer's record spoke for itself. He said it was "hardly a fluke" that Laois were badly beaten in the 2002 All-Ireland qualifiers and, after O'Dwyer's appointed, were Leinster champions the next year.

McDonald said O'Dwyer "had his own way of doing things" but he always knew what he was doing.

Parkinson made his comments last Saturday in a discussion on Micko's current side's -- Wicklow -- prospect of beating Carlow.


Rugby player Bernard Jackman had predicted O'Dwyer would "have a trick up his sleeve".

But Parkinson said: "I can tell you now that Micko will have nothing up his sleeve. He's an absolute bluffer."

He did admit that O'Dwyer ensured the best players were playing for the county. "Even in Laois now, you could pick 15 players who are as good if not better than the players playing in the championship, who aren't playing. If Micko was over Laois, everyone would be playing."

O'Dwyer won eight All-Irelands as a manager with Kerry.

Laois player Gary Kavanagh said O'Dwyer had an unrivalled ability to give players belief.

He said if you "didn't belief in yourself after listening to him you never would".

His colleague Noel Garvan said O'Dwyer had exceptional ways of motivating players.