Laois hurling manager Seamus Plunkett has called for investment in the development of hurling.
Plunkett was speaking in the aftermath of the midlanders’ gutsy showing against Galway in the Leinster semi-final where they led for large parts of the game before eventually losing out on a 2-17 to 1-13 scoreline.
The game marked Laois’ third appearance in the Championship this season and it’s no secret that the county are eager to meet hurling’s bigger guns on a more regular basis. Recent seasons saw heavy defeats to Cork and Limerick in the qualifiers, prompting suggestions that Laois should drop down to the Christy Ring Cup.
Plunkett has rubbished that idea. Speaking on the Sunday Game, he said: “A few people mentioned that to me last year and I wouldn’t like to tell you what I told them. The reaction from the players would also be quite dismissive of any such move.
“Overall it’s indicative of some thinking and a lack of ambition. We want to close the gap, but we need some assistance to do it. Developing squads and nurturing talent needs investment.
"We have to look at the Dublin model and the money that was spent there. They have had success particularly at underage level and I’m convinced that if something similar was undertaken in Laois then we would speed up to a Tier 1 county pretty quickly.“
"We want to close the gap, but we need some assistance to do it" - Seamus Plunkett
Reacting to Plunkett’s comments, RTÉ pundit Michael Duignan stressed the importance of funding in making sure that proper resources are in place to help certain counties.
Finance is needed to ensure that coaches, equipment and backroom teams are provided for.
Donegal spent nearly €1million last year in winning an All-Ireland. Offaly and Laois, both dual counties, would have less than that to support both codes. So it’s obvious then that the level of expertise will differ. It’s not a level playing field.
Dublin have a population of over a million; other counties have 60-70,000. In saying that if players don’t have the right attitude; a winning mentality, then it doesn’t matter how much money you throw at things.
“As for Laois, the season so far has seen them rediscover a bit of pride.”