Sport Hurling

Monday 22 January 2018

Hunt begins for new Laois boss as Rigney steps down

Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

LAOIS hurling is in the market for a senior manager after Niall Rigney announced that he was stepping down following last Saturday's All-Ireland qualifier defeat by Carlow.

He took over in mid-season 2008 after Damian Fox resigned. Laois made steady progress under Rigney and, after beating Antrim in last year's qualifiers, they ran Limerick to three points in the next round.

They finished third behind Clare and Wexford in Division 2 this year before beating Carlow and then losing to Dublin in the Leinster championship. They were again paired with Carlow in the qualifiers, but lost by a point.

Despite the defeat, Rigney will hand over Laois in good condition and explained yesterday that he always intended to leave after three years - adding that he is confident about the future for Laois.

"As Brian Campion (Laois captain) said after, we hit a pothole on the road to progress," he stated. "A new manager will bring in a bit of freshness and I have no doubts that this group of players will get better. They gave me everything for the last few seasons and I leave them with very fond memories."

The process of finding Rigney's replacement will start next week.

Same again for Limerick

Mickey Ned O'Sullivan has kept faith with the same team that defeated Waterford for Limerick's Munster SFC final with Kerry in Killarney on Sunday.

Twelve of the side selected featured in last year's defeat to Cork, with goalkeeper Brian Scanlon, corner-back Andrew Lane and centre-forward James Ryan the newcomers to the side as Limerick look to bridge a 114-year gap without a provincial title.

Tyrone's Stephen O'Neill remains a doubt for the Ulster football final against Monaghan on July 18.

The Clann na nGael man is struggling with the heel injury that forced him out of the semi-final win over Down after 11 minutes. He has been unable to train this week and was restricted to just 10 minutes of action in a club championship game last weekend.

O'Neill is set to undergo intensive physio treatment over the next couple of weeks.

Wexford hurling boss Colm Bonnar believes Keith Rossiter and Willie Doran will be fit to line out in Saturday's qualifier clash with Tipperary, despite suffering hand injuries in the Leinster championship defeat to Galway.

Paul Roche is also available, while Malachy Travers could play some part, despite damaging a hamstring against the Tribesmen. However, PJ Nolan (quad) and captain Diarmuid 'Gizzy' Lyng (suspension) are definitely out.

Limerick (SF v Kerry) -- B Scanlon; M O'Riordan, J McCarthy, A Lane; S Lavin, S Lucey, P Ranahan; J Galvin, J O'Donovan; P Browne, J Ryan, S Buckley; G Collins, I Ryan, S Kelly.

Irish Independent

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