New Laois football manager Mike Quirke will have to plan without the services of Stephen Attride for 2020.
The Killeshin clubman, who has been Laois’s captain for the past three seasons, departed for Australia on his travels this week and will be a big loss to Quirke in next year’s league and championship.
Attride has taken a year out from his teaching role in Knockbeg College and next year will be the first time since his debut season in 2013 to miss.
He deferred his departure date until after Killeshin were finished in the Laois championship.
He has been a regular starter for the past seven seasons since breaking onto the team in 2013 and was first named captain by Peter Creedon for the 2017 season.
He led Laois to the Allianz Football League Division 4 title in 2017 as well as to Laois’s first Leinster final appearance in 11 years that same season
Attride, however, missed out on the final and Round 4 Qualifier against Monaghan after sustaining a serious fracture to his skull in the closing stages of the semi-final win over Carlow.
He returned this year to captain Laois as they won promotion to Division 3 and later enjoyed a great year with Killeshin as they reached their first ever Laois senior football final.
Although a very versatile player and can play on almost every line of the field, he was used by Killeshin as man-marking corner-back and kept tabs on Gary Walsh, Sean Moore and Brian McCormack in their games against Ballylinan, Ballyfin and Portlaoise.
Attride’s decision to go travelling is the first confirmed absentee from the Laois football panel for next season.