Courtwood man Eddie Kinsella is set to be announced as the new Laois U-20 football manager, filling the vacancy left following the departure of Billy O’Loughlin last month.
Kinsella, who has been over Courtwood for the past three seasons and won the intermediate title with them in 2018, is set to be joined on the management team by former Laois player Padraig McMahon from Ballyroan-Abbey, Portlaoise’s Seamus Lalor and Tom Byrne, who was a coach alongside Billy O’Loughlin.
It is the latest move in the varied and successful GAA career of Kinsella, who has also been a hugely prominent referee and took charge of a number of high-profile games including the 2014 All Ireland final.
Kinsella takes over a promising team with a number of players still eligible from the side that were beaten in this year’s Leinster final by Dublin.
Due to the changing of the underage grades this exact group of players were denied playing intercounty minor but did reach a Leinster U-17 semi-final in 2017 where they were only narrowly beaten by Dublin.
The competition is also set to be played in the spring in 2020, instead of its previous summer schedule.
It’s also thought that senior intercounty players will be eligible for selection, meaning players like Mark Barry and Sean O’Flynn, who played for the Laois seniors under John Sugrue in 2019, will be available.
The U-20 competition was played in group stages in its first year and then in a straight knockout format in 2019.
It has been hit with a number of issues in its first two years including the rule preventing senior players from playing as well as scheduling problems as it started around the time of the Leaving Cert – one of the key reasons the age grades were changed in the first place.
It’s not clear yet whether Kinsella’s involvement with the Laois U-20s will bring to an end his reign as Courtwood manager.