Former All Ireland footballer winner with Armagh Oisin McConville is part of the Laois senior hurling backroom team and was with the side for Sunday’s Leinster championship game against Westmeath.
Laois manager Eamonn Kelly confirmed to LaoisToday that McConville had linked up with the team towards the end of the league and that he has been in attendance about once every two weeks since.
He was with the team on Sunday and Kelly says that he has made a very positive contribution.
“When he was starting out as a player with Armagh and Crossmaglen he was coming from a position very similar to where the Laois lads are now,” said Kelly.
“He has a good background in the area of sports psychology and he has great experience having worked with the likes of Kieran McGeeney and Enda McNulty. He has been doing a bit with the players and they’ve found him very good. And I’ve picked up a lot from him too – you’re always keen to learn from different people.
“We’ve a lot of great lads in the background. Brian O’Sullivan on the video and Jack Harding on the stats do a lot of really good work that people don’t see.”
Kelly watches the games alongside the stats team in the stand with former Tipperary hurler Conor Gleeson wearing the Bainisteoir bib and former Limerick hurler Ollie Moran, John Taylor and Owen Coss also on the sideline as selectors.
Following Sunday’s win over Westmeath, Laois make the trip to Navan to play Meath this Sunday but Kelly knows his side must improve if they’re to beat a Meath side in top form.
“We upped it a bit in the second half,” he said of Sunday’s win over Westmeath. “We pushed on with five or six points in a row but you’d have to give credit to Westmeath. They stuck to their task and brought it right down to the wire.
“We’ve a lot to learn though – that performance won’t take us much further.”
Kelly said that he was particularly disappointed with the first-half showing and “that the only thing we could have been happy with at half time was the scoreline”. Laois were level at the break before pushing eight points clear with ten minutes to go before enduring a nervous finish after conceding two late goals.
Kelly said that Cha Dwyer was replaced late in the game because of an injury he carried into Sunday’s clash while Ryan Mullaney and John Lennon will miss the trip to Meath with injury again while Aaron Bergin – who scored three points after being introduced as a sub – picked up an ankle injury.
Ballinakill’s Podge Lawlor could be fit enough to take his place on the bench having been out since picking up a hamstring injury against Offaly in the league while Neil Foyle will be available for selection having served a one-match ban.
Kelly confirmed that sub goalkeeper Eoin Fleming dropped himself off the panel prior to the Westmeath game. U-21 player Paul Simms from Ballinakill was the sub-keeper on Sunday but he had been training with the squad all along.
Laois play Meath next Sunday at 3pm in Pairc Tailteann in Navan.