Laois GAA will have a new club for the 2020 season following the decision of Colt and Shanahoe to fully join forces, similar to what has been done in the past by the likes of Rathdowney and Errill and Borris-in-Ossory/Kilcotton and Park-Ratheniska and Timahoe.
The clubs held simultaneous Extraordinary General Meetings at 11am this morning when both passed the decision by a clear majority.
To go ahead it needed 66% majority in both clubs.
The decision follows months of negotiations between the two clubs as well as separate meetings of the two individual clubs and support from Laois County Board.
The amalgamation is a full join up that will see the clubs come together for all grades from underage up to adult.
The two clubs were in the second tier Senior ‘A’ grade in 2019 and it is expected that the new club will remain in that grade for 2020.
What that does for the competition remains to be seen as Laois GAA will have to bring it back to eight teams. Clonaslee were the ones relegated last year.
Both Colt and Shanahoe have fielded underage teams together over the years and in recent seasons have, along with Clonad and Trumera, been part of the progressive Raheen Parish Gaels setup.
Last year, the combined set up reached the Laois U-20 ‘A’ hurling final – the first time for them to reach an ‘A’ final.
The two clubs have also made use of the ‘Gaels’ set up when permitted too with Shanahoe pairing up with Ballypickas and Colt with Clonad for a couple of seasons. That arrangement was ruled out of order at the start of 2019.
The decision of these two clubs to come together follows a trend of Laois hurling clubs going down this route.
Rathdowney-Errill are the poster boys for such a move having won six senior titles since coming together in 2005 while Borris-Kilcotton joined up in 2011 and have won one senior championship and appeared in two other finals.
Coming from a smaller base, Park-Ratheniska and Timahoe came together ahead of the 2018 season and though relegated in their first year, they won the junior crown in 2019.
Last year, Abbeyleix and Ballinakill put it to a vote in both clubs – but it was rejected in Abbeyleix. Over 90% of Ballinakill members voted in favour of it.
It’s not known yet what the new club will be called or what arrangement is in place for training and home games.