Saturday 20 January 2018

Laois ponder taking drop to Christy Ring in effort to boost ailing fortunes

Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

Laois chairman Brian Allen has not ruled out the possibility of the county dropping down to the Christy Ring Cup if that is what is needed to stop the county's alarming hurling rot.

The O'Moore seniors suffered a horrendous 10-goal mauling by Cork last weekend and the county's woes were exacerbated when Wexford hit their U-21s for seven goals midweek.

"If that's what it takes, we'll have to look at it and tease it out with the people involved," Allen said of a possible drop to the second-tier championship.

"Maybe it's not what people want, maybe they want to hurl in the top flight, but this is not the first time this (a heavy defeat) has happened.

"We lost to Tipperary and Galway in the past and our qualifiers record is bad," he added.

It looks unlikely that senior manager Brendan Fennelly will stay on, though Allen would not be drawn on his future.

Fennelly has repeatedly criticised player commitment and the county chairman appeared to echo that when he added: "You'll get out of it what you put into it. The squad were training in Rathdowney a few weeks ago. Nine of the starting 15 were injured, and a high proportion of those were training with their clubs."

Model skipper Stamp in line for Limerick return

WEXFORD hurlers have received a massive boost with the news that inspirational defender Darren Stamp will be fit to line out in the All-Ireland qualifiers' clash against Limerick at the Gaelic Grounds tomorrow week.

Centre-back Stamp, the team captain, missed the Leinster semi-final loss to Kilkenny on June 12 due to a calf muscle injury.

But the Oulart-The Ballagh clubman has sufficiently recovered from his ailment to make a return to training earlier this week, and he has suffered no adverse reaction in the interim.

"Darren is making improvement with each training session and he'll definitely be in contention for a place on the team for the Limerick game," said team boss Colm Bonnar.

With Stamp back in the frame, the Wexford manager added that his only significant injury concern is over utility ace Willie Doran, whose late goal in the final league game against Tipperary, at Semple Stadium, in April helped the Slaneysiders retain their Division 1 status at the expense of Offaly.

Defender Ciaran Kenny, drafted into Stamp's No 6 position in the clash against the Cats, and wing-forward PJ Nolan are also on the injured list at the moment, but the team manager is hopeful both players will be available for the showdown with the Treaty County.

Irish Independent

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