Saturday 24 February 2018

Dooley claims upheaval will make Laois harder to beat

Johnny Dooley believes the Seamus Plunkett saga could have a bonding effect on the Laois squad
Johnny Dooley believes the Seamus Plunkett saga could have a bonding effect on the Laois squad
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

The upheaval in Laois, which led to the departure of manager Seamus 'Cheddar' Plunkett for a week, could work in their favour against Offaly in the Leinster hurling quarter-final in Portlaoise on Sunday.

That's according to former Offaly All-Ireland medal winner, Johnny Dooley, who believes the whole affair could have a galvanising impact on the Laois squad.

"We had a few managerial issues in Offaly from time to time when I was playing, but it didn't bother us. In the end, players just want to get on with playing. I'm sure it will be the same for Laois. They'll be really up for this," said the three-time All-Star.

Plunkett returned on Monday, having resigned a week earlier. Dooley thinks that, if anything, it could bring the camp closer together.


"Something like that can generate a real bond among a group of players. From an Offaly perspective, we would probably have been better off if it hadn't happened. It could make the task all the harder," said Dooley.

Offaly are seeking a win in the Leinster Championship for the first time since 2012, having lost to Kilkenny in the last two years.

"There's a more positive feeling around in Offaly this year. Having to go down to Nowlan Park in the first round last year was always going to be a very tough ask but it's different this time. You always want to be on the opposite side of the draw to Kilkenny (the Laois-Offaly winners will play Galway or Dublin in the semi-final) so it's a good chance to make progress," said Dooley.

Offaly finished fourth in 1B this year, before losing by six points to Tipperary in the quarter-final, after trailing by 13 points at half-time.

"It was disappointing, especially in the first half, but it was also good experience for Brian (Whelahan) and the lads. They should be the better for it," said Dooley.

Irish Independent

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