Friday 6 December 2019

Walsh returns to Laois after 'clear-the-air' talks with Lillis

Walsh was visibly aggrieved after he was taken off against the Dubs Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Walsh was visibly aggrieved after he was taken off against the Dubs Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Jackie Cahill

Gary Walsh has returned to the Laois football panel ahead of Saturday's Qualifier against Armagh, following clear-the-air talks with manager Mick Lillis.

Walsh apologised to Lillis for using "threatening behaviour" towards the manager following the Leinster SFC quarter-final defeat to Dublin at Nowlan Park a fortnight ago.

Walsh was visibly aggrieved after he was taken off against the Dubs and in a statement issued on his Twitter page recently, he revealed how he "let a few f***s out of me" following his substitution.

Walsh also insisted that he had been dropped from the panel, and hadn't removed himself from the squad following the Dublin loss.

But Walsh issued another statement on Saturday, thanking "Laois management for meeting me today and allowing me the opportunity to unreservedly apologise for my threatening behaviour towards my manager Mick Lillis in Nowlan Park".


And news of Walsh's return was confirmed by the player yesterday, as he revealed: "I just got the call that I'm back on the panel so I'll leave it at that."

Meanwhile, former Laois star Peter O'Leary has insisted that Tipperary manager Liam Kearns is the best inter-county boss he's worked under.

Kearns plotted a first Munster SFC victory for Tipperary over Cork since 1944 last Sunday and managed Laois for the 2007 and '08 campaigns.

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During a lengthy career with Laois, O'Leary also worked under the likes of Mick O'Dwyer, Sean Dempsey, Justin McNulty and latterly Tomás Ó Flatharta, before the O'Dempsey's clubman retired in 2014.

But O'Leary insisted that Kearns was "by a good long way" the pick of the bunch.

The 31-year-old said: "I just think he's a very clever manager. He puts a lot of thought into what he does.

"When he was with us, he seemed to keep everybody happy and talked to all of the players, making everybody believe they were part of the set-up.

"When we played Dublin in the 2007 Leinster final, he came up with a game-plan on how we were going to negate the Dublin kick-outs and we played a man back.

"I think we were a couple of points up coming near the end of the first half but we fell asleep and didn't notice that Dublin had pushed a man up on our sweeper and we were caught for two goals.

"But Liam didn't take crap off anybody, he was his own man.

"He was probably ahead of what we were used to prior to that, giving us our first sense of tactics."

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