Laois footballers accused of drinking before games

An acrimonious Laois County Board meeting has seen some of the county’s footballers accused of drinking before games and their manager Peter Creedon severely criticised, writes Stephen Barry.

Laois beat Longford and Wicklow but lost to Kildare and Clare to end their championship campaign, while being relegated to Division 4 of the league.

The fall-out from the year was debated in strong terms on Monday night, with the Crettyard delegate John Burke accusing some players’ drinking sessions of inhibiting their performances, according to the Leinster Express.

“Is it the manager's fault that at least four of our senior football players congregate for drinking sessions? Everyone in the street is talking about that, is that the senior manager's fault? Or is it the players fault? Four of our starting team were involved in that.

“If we want to come in here now and have an honest discussion, we'll have one. The discussion we'll have will be all over the media in the morning, Laois are doing this or Laois are doing that. You can't drink pints of Guinness and talk shite in a pub, and then play football.”

Burke clarified that the accusations concerned drinking “days before” games.

His sentiments received “100%” agreement from Timahoe's Willie Ramsbottom, while Stradbally's Eamon Delaney said anyone who knew and failed to pass on any information to Creedon or confront the players “are partly responsible as well”.

Creedon’s charges were also accused of a lack of preparation and passion by delegates, but the former Tipperary manager wasn’t spared either.

Mick Lawlor, who was on the Leinster-winning Laois team in 2003 and is currently the Emo delegate, said of Creedon: “From what I saw this year, to hold on to that man, you could be putting Laois football back five or six years.”

A motion was proposed on the night not to renew Creedon’s one-year term, but chairman Gerry Kavanagh insisted he would first have to meet players’ representatives before any decision could be made.

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