Tuesday 23 January 2018

Cunningham capture 'a coup' for Laois - Kingston

Former Galway manager Anthony Cunningham (Sportsfile)
Former Galway manager Anthony Cunningham (Sportsfile)
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Laois football star Donie Kingston has described the addition of Anthony Cunningham to their backroom team as "a coup".

It emerged last week that the former Galway hurling boss, who has also been a successful club football manager, had been snapped up by Mick Lillis as Laois look to regroup after a League campaign that saw them relegated from Division 2.

And Kingston is delighted to have the Galway native on board.

"Anthony is in now, I have to say it's a bit of a coup for us really to get a man of his experience in with us," Kingston said.

"I think he's going to help us big time.

"He has a lot of experience with inter county set-ups, with hurling and football, which will only help us in our preparations."

Cunningham is working as a coach with the county as they prepare for their Leinster SFC opener with Wicklow on May 14.

"We did know they were looking for a coach, but the positivity around the appointment and the fact that we've got someone of real calibre has helped the squad big time.

"Anyone you talk to, they all rave about him. We don't know that side of things yet but talking to the man himself, he seems to be on top of things. He's very approachable as well."

And Kingston insisted that morale was good within the squad despite a spring that saw them win just one game from seven.

"Having the Championship so quick and having the preparation straight away after the League does take your mind off the relegation," Kingston said.

"We've played a few challenge matches now in the last few weeks and we've had a few positive results. That's helping us along the way as well."

The winners of Laois' clash with Wicklow will face Dublin in Nowlan Park and Kingston says that whichever side emerges from that game will be much happier facing the All-Ireland champions somewhere other than Croke Park.

"I think it makes a massive difference," he said. "They are so used to playing there, they know the dimensions of the field so well.

"Croke Park is different to any other pitch in the country with the stadium and the size of it, there are so many different elements to it.

"The Dubs are used to it now, it is like second nature to them.

"It's a big thing to get them out of Croke Park - I think it should have been done before this year as well," he commented.

"It shouldn't have been happening for the last ten years or however long it is."

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