Home Sport GAA Former Laois footballer takes over Arles-Killeen for 2021 season

Former Laois footballer takes over Arles-Killeen for 2021 season

Rory Stapleton (right) celebrates with his brother Shane after Annanough's Laois JFC 'A' success in 2018

Former Laois footballer Rory Stapleton has taken over as manager of Arles-Killeen for the 2021 club season.

The Annanough man, who won an All Ireland minor medal in 2003 and played senior championship football under Mick O’Dwyer, Liam Kearns and Sean Dempsey, has replaced Hugh Kenny who was over the club for the past couple of seasons.

Stapleton, who is principal of the nearby Ballyadams NS, was joint player-manager with his native Annanough in 2020. He also spent a season as selector with the Laois U-21s in 2016.

Arles-Killeen reached Round 3 of the Laois SFC in 2020 where they were narrowly beaten by The Heath. They had earlier lost to Graiguecullen but beaten neighbours Arles-Kilcruise.

Having reached finals in 2013 and 2014 and regularly been in the latter stages, Killeen have struggled in recent seasons with a small panel.

But in Oisin Byrne and Colin Dunne, they have had two impressive Laois minors in recent years.

Byrne, who was the county minor vice-captain in 2019, made his senior debut in 2020 while Dunne was minor vice-captain last season and will be eligible to play senior this year.

Both attacking players, they will aid a decent forward line alongside the likes of Donie and Paul Kingston.

There can be no club GAA action until the country returns to Level 2 of the Coronavirus restrictions.

Laois GAA secretary Niall Handy had initially said that he hoped the club leagues could commence at the end of March in their normal slot in the calendar – but that is unlikely to be the case now.

The National Hurling and Football leagues are currently scheduled to start on February 27-28 while the inter-county championship season will follow on straight away after that finishes with the All Ireland finals pencilled in for July.

It is hoped that the outstanding 2020 club championships will be completed before the 2021 championships begin in late July/early August.

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