Sunday 19 November 2017

Laois hurling blow as Hyland retires

Attacking stalwart Willie Hyland has hung up his inter-county boots. Photo: Sportsfile
Attacking stalwart Willie Hyland has hung up his inter-county boots. Photo: Sportsfile

Michael Verney

New Laois hurling manager Eamonn Kelly has been hit with a huge setback ahead of preparations for 2017 with the news that attacking stalwart Willie Hyland has hung up his inter-county boots.

The stylish forward, 28, from Clough-Ballacolla called time on his 11-year county career, citing serious hip injuries and in his retirement statement he said that "at inter-county level if you can't give 100pc then you're at nothing".

It was "an honour to wear the blue and white" for Hyland and the crafty left-hander paid special tribute to previous manager Seamus 'Cheddar' Plunkett, "who gave us days in a Laois jersey that many didn't think was possible."

Their shock Leinster SHC defeat of Offaly in 2015, their first championship defeat of their great rivals since 1972, was a career highlight with Hyland firing seven points from play in a virtuoso performance and his absence will be sorely felt.

Elsewhere, Tyrone's Sean O'Kane is to succeed Ronan Clarke as manager of Armagh ladies footballers.

O'Kane - an All-Ireland MFC winner with his native county - takes over from Clarke, who stepped down in October, and he will be joined by Noel O'Kane and Paddy Toner in the new backroom team.

Irish Independent

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