/ GAA

Justin McNulty steps down as Laois manager

Updated: Tuesday, 20 Aug 2013 11:14 | Comments

Justin McNulty's time in charge of Laois has come to an end after three years in charge
Justin McNulty's time in charge of Laois has come to an end after three years in charge

Justin McNulty has stepped down as Laois football manager after three years in charge of the county.

The Armagh native guided Laois to promotion to Division 1 of the National League in 2011 and his side reached the All-Ireland quarter-finals last season but were unable to make an impression in the Championship this year and were knocked out by Donegal in the qualifiers.

The Laois County Board released a statement saying that McNulty was "grateful for the opportunity afforded to him by Laois County Board and feels incredibly honoured to have worked with such a talented and committed group of players."

The statement went on to say: "Most of all, Justin would like to thank the Laois players.

"While there were periods of adversity endured together along the way, the character the team developed will stand them in good stead going forward.

"Justin would like to wish the players all the best for the future.

Former Wexford manager Jason Ryan has been tipped to succeed McNulty in the post.

The Laois role was McNulty's first inter-county managerial role after previously managing Cavan club Mullahoran, and performing a role in the Armagh backroom team.

As a player, the Mullaghbawn man played full-back in Armagh's historic All-Ireland Senior Football Championship success in 2002.

In total, Laois played 15 Championship matches under McNulty and won nine, with their best performance being their quarter-final appearance in 2012; they reached the fourth round of the qualifiers this season. 

The O'Moore County didn't fare well in the Leinster Championship under McNulty, falling at the first hurdle twice in the last two seasons. Defeat to Louth this season was widely criticised and led to heavy pressure being placed on McNulty.

In the league, initial promotion to Division 1 in 2011 was followed by relegation to Division 2 in 2012 and a third-place finish in the same division in 2013.

McNulty's last game in charge was his side's fourth round qualifier defeat to Donegal on a 0-14 to 0-08 scoreline in this season's qualifiers.

While Laois were not outclassed against the 2012 All-Ireland champions, the defeat again sparked debate about McNulty's tenure, which he himself admitted was under scrutiny.

The Mullaghbawn has made no statement about any plans to manage or coach in the coming season.

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