Laois Cumann na mBunscol have embarked on a new venture in an attempt to improve football and hurling in the county.
For the first time, they have run trials for pupils from all over Laois and have now picked a hurling team which are currently training together once a week in the Laois Training Centre.
This has followed on from the football team which was picked earlier in the year.
Vice-Chairman of Allianz Laois Cumann na mBunscol, Shane Maher who is a teacher in The Heath NS, says that the interest from the boys was massive.
He said: “We had 98 hurlers attend trials and it was some job picking the final panel. In total, 34 schools sent players.
“We had three 2-hour sessions which were a mixture of games and coaching provided by the GDAs.
“Paudie Bourke (Secretary and Portlaoise ETNS) took more of a hands-on role with this as he’s from a hurling background down in Toomevara.
“Monica Kennedy-Phelan (Chairperson and Castletown NS), Fiona Delaney (Killanure NS), Martin Carroll (Clough NS), Donal Griffin (Holy Family SNS) and Liam Ahern (The Rock NS) really oversaw the three sessions.
“Apart from organising pitches/refs/emails and stuff, my role was quite secondary to be honest.
“Laois GDAs Andrew Kavanagh and Ciarán Muldowney were a great help and we were very appreciative of Clonad GAA Club for allowing us the use of their grounds. We’d have been severely hampered without them.”
The hurling team gave an exhibition to punters at half time in the Kerry v Laois game two weeks’ ago and are currently training towards a tournament in Carlow in June.
Shane said: “The hurling panel will train now towards the Carlow Lift & Strike exhibition in June but plans are already in motion to invite down Cumann na mBunscol Tipperary for a friendly blitz in late May or early June.
“Our first session took place last Wednesday in the Laois GAA Training Centre. All sessions will be outside of school time and we rely on the time being volunteered by the teachers involved.”
Shane also confirmed that plans to get girls football and camogie teams up and running shortly were in place.
He said: “The camogie panel trials start next week with Fiona Delaney taking the lead and the girls football trials will start after Easter with Claire O’ Connell (Presentation Portarlington) heading those up.”
Allianz Laois Cumann na mBunscol Hurling Panel:
Colin Byrne (Abbeyleix//St Lazerian’s Abbeyleix)
Conor Dooley (Abbeyleix/St Lazerian’s Abbeyleix)
Edward Meade (Ballacolla/Clough-Ballacolla)
Tomás Moore (Ballinakill/Ballinakill)
Robbie Kennedy (Ballinakill/Ballinakill)
Jack Fitzpatrick (Borris-In-Ossory/Borris-Kilcotton)
Shane Higgins (Camross/Camross)
Josh Hynes (Camross/Camross)
Eoghan Cuddy (Camross/Camross)
Ciaran McKelvey (Castletown/Castletown-Slieve Bloom)
Jay Cuddy (Castletown/Castletown-Slieve Bloom)
Kevin Hyland (Clough/Clough/Ballacolla)
Cormac Hogan (Clough/Clough/Ballacolla)
Thomas Brennan (Clough/Clough/Ballacolla)
Fionn Kempster (Derrylamogue/Rosenallis)
Ciaran Flynn (Durrow/The Harps)
Bobby Murphy (Durrow/The Harps)
Mikey Fennelly (Emo/St Pauls)
Sean Downey (Emo/St Pauls)
Jack Byrne (Graiguecullen/Graiguecullen)
Barry Fitzpatrick (Holy Family Portlaoise/Portlaoise)
Jer Quinlan (Killadooley/Borris-Kilcotton)
James Cuddy (Killanure/Camross)
Ben Deegan (Killanure/Camross)
Kevin Byrne (Killanure/Camross)
Tom Cuddy (Killanure/Camross)
Mark Cusack (Mountrath/Mountrath)
Jack Breen (Paddock/Castletown-Slieve Bloom)
Aaron Phelan (Rushall/Castletown-Slieve Bloom)
Conor Brown (The Heath-Portlaoise)
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