Laois GAA officials last night admitted the trend of senior stars transferring from the county is a ‘huge concern’ as star forward MJ Tierney is the latest high-profile player planning to switch to Dublin club, Parnells.
Tierney is set to join fellow Laois players Colm Parkinson, Darren Rooney and, the most recent transfer, Colm Begley in defecting from their home clubs to Parnells, citing a search for employment as the reason for the move.
The news has prompted complaints against the Coolock club’s apparent pursuit of top Laois talent and county board secretary Niall Handy expressed his disappointment at the latest switch of Tierney from his native Ballyroan-Abbey.
"It is very disappointing to hear that another top player has left his club in Laois. That’s the fourth player in the space of a year that has decided to move. That is a huge concern for us. Our clubs have lost some of their best players, while for the Laois county championship this year it’s not good that some of the biggest players won’t be involved."
Handy insisted that the county board are actively seeking to assist players in their search for employment.
"Work in the building and construction industries has slowed down considerably, and it’s hard to help our players get jobs. Several other lads on our county panels are out of work and we’re on the lookout for them as well."
Tierney refuted any suggestions that he was ‘poached’ by Parnells and revealed he initiated contact with the club. The attacker stated he was forced into the decision by his futile 18-month search for employment and having got engaged shortly before Christmas, his Scottish fiancée Nicola’s impending move to Dublin in May was also a factor.