Rigney takes over at Laois hurling helm

Former Laois hurler Niall Rigney was appointed last night as manager of the Laois senior hurling team, following the resignation of Damian Fox at the Heritage Hotel in Portlaoise.

Former Laois hurler Niall Rigney was appointed last night as manager of the Laois senior hurling team, following the resignation of Damian Fox at the Heritage Hotel in Portlaoise.

A meeting of delegates from Laois hurling clubs and County Board officials broke up just after 9pm last night, after which County Board Chairman Brian Allen expressed his disappointment at the departure of Fox.

"I would like to thank Damian and his committee for all the effort they have put in over the last two years," Allen said.

"They were very keen that Laois would progress and go forward. Over the last few weeks things took a downturn and the management felt that they couldn't continue."

And Allen confirmed that County Board officials and the management team were in last-minute talks to try and resolve the situation.

"We met this morning and were in contact by phone, and Niall Rigney this evening and Joe Dollard then and both have agreed to take on an interim position for the remaining games.

"We are now looking forward and we brought in the clubs tonight (for a meeting) to ensure that we will get the support of the clubs going forward."

Laois PRO Pascal McEvoy added his support for Rigney and believes that having a Laois man in the position can only help to boost the players as they face into the qualifiers.

"Niall Rigney is a Laois man, a very passionate Laois man may I add. Joe Dollard has served Laois and Leinster and his club for many years and is a wonderful hurler.

"If they (the players) don't commit themselves to Laois hurling with those two lads in charge, there is not much they or the Laois County Board can do," McEvoy added.

Outgoing manager Fox was not present at the meeting, and instead tendered his resignation via a letter which was submitted to the Laois County Board last night.

It was accepted by the Executive of the Laois County Board and the Hurling Board prior to the meeting of the clubs.

Dollard will act as a selector to his former Laois team-mate Rigney, while Willie Stackpool will be the servicing secretary.

The Laois players will meet with the new management team tomorrow night in Portlaoise.

They will have training sessions over the next week-and-a-half, in the build-up to their All-Ireland qualifier tie against either Galway or Antrim on July 5.

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