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BREAKING: Laois on the lookout for new football manager as Sugrue steps down

John Sugrue

After two years as manager of the Laois senior football team, John Sugrue has announced that he has decided to step down from the role.

The manager was non-committal about his future following Laois’s All-Ireland Round 4 Qualifier defeat to Cork but he has now confirmed he will not be seeking a third year in the role.

In a statement, Laois GAA said: “Laois GAA Football Manager John Sugrue has announced his decision to step down from his position as Senior Football Manager.

”Laois GAA wish to state their sincere thanks to John for his hard work, dedication and professionalism that he brought to this role.

“In his two year term, he managed our Senior Football team to successive promotions from Division 4 to Division 2, progressed to a Leinster Senior Football Final in 2018, whilst also reaching Round 4 of the Qualifier series in his two years involved and he has certainly left the panel in a better position to take the challenge to a new level under a new direction.

”Laois GAA wish John the very best of luck in whatever role he now chooses.”

Park-Ratheniska clubman John Sugrue was appointed to the role of Laois manager in September 2017 – succeeding Peter Creedon. 

Laois were in Division 4 at the time and although Sugrue endured a difficult O’Byrne Cup campaign that year, he moulded a team together that went on to achieve promotion.

They reached the league final against neighbours Carlow where they defeated them and Stephen Attride became the first Laois captain since Ian Fitzgerald in 2003 to climb the steps of the Hogan Stand to clinch a trophy.

Laois then entered the 2018 Leinster championship where, after an extra time win over Wexford in Round 1, they defeated Westmeath in the semi final to reach the semi final for the first time since 2011.

Carlow once again stood in their way but once again Sugrue had the answer and Laois advanced to their first Leinster final since 2007 against Dublin.

Here, Jim Gavin’s men proved too strong and Laois’s journey came to an end two weeks later when they were knocked out in Round 4 of the Qualifiers by Monaghan.

Sugrue returned in 2019 and his side set about achieving promotion from Division 3 to Division 2.

And following a final round win over Carlow which saw their neighbours relegated, Laois achieved just that and advanced to the final against Westmeath.

But Laois could not repeat the feat of 12 months previous as they went down to the Lake County. 

However, Laois headed back to the Leinster championship and renewed acquaintances with Westmeath where they edged them out in a low scoring affair.

But there would be no Leinster final for Laois this year as Meath knocked them out in Croke Park a few weeks later.

Laois then headed for the Qualifiers where they dispatched the challenges of Derry and Offaly but once again the hurdle before the Super 8s was where Laois fell as Cork got the better of them this time.

That game was just over three weeks ago and now Laois must once again begin the search for a new manager.

Sugrue’s time in charge will certainly be remembered fondly by the majority of Laois players and supporters, coming as it did on the back of a couple of disappointing seasons.

Over the course of the two years Laois played six times in Croke Park and enjoyed some great moments in league and championship.

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.