Sunday 21 January 2018

Laois suffer blow as Quigley joins US exodus

Brendan Quigley
Brendan Quigley
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Laois football have been dealt another crushing blow to their prospects of recovery this season with Brendan Quigley's decision to go to the US for the rest of the summer.

Quigley, the county's experienced midfielder who was nominated for an All Star last year after some impressive qualifier performances, has opted to follow Kevin Meaney and Gary Walsh out to the States to take up employment.

Meaney and Walsh left for New York just a few days after the county's disappointing 10-point defeat to Louth in the opening round of the Leinster football championship.

Quigley's departure, on top of defections in Armagh and Waterford – who lost players prior to their Munster championship defeat to Kerry over the weekend – will once again raise questions over the gaps between early provincial defeats and first-round qualifiers, which in some cases are six weeks.

Congress gave approval in March to a new system which may help to alleviate that vacuum by pre-ordaining the qualifiers to align counties who are knocked out of their provinces early.

Late last week it emerged that three players had left the Armagh squad after being offered work in America.

An Armagh statement outlined that Declan McKenna, Peter Carragher and Gavin McParland had "all spoken with the team manager and explained their reasons, which were unrelated to football.

"The manager (Paul Grimley), while deeply disappointed, accepted their reasons and wished them well.

"The manager also asks that supporters do not judge these players harshly without being in possession of the full facts. The manager regards them as fine young men who have given great commitment to their county in the past."

A fourth Armagh squad member, Michael Stevenson, has emigrated to Australia for 12 months.

However an exodus expected from Galway after their defeat to Mayo has not materialised, though their captain that day, Gareth Bradshaw, has left the squad.

Bradshaw was sent off that day and has opted to take time out from inter-county football, though there is an expectation that he will return in the coming weeks.

The loss of Quigley leaves Laois without four key players for the qualifiers, with Meaney and Walsh already gone and Cahir Healy already committed to playing for the hurlers.

Irish Independent

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