By Peter McNamara
Séamus ‘Cheddar’ Plunkett has penned an interesting open letter to Laois hurling supporters via the ‘Friends of Laois Hurling’ Facebook page today.
And in it, particularly because of the dedication of the players within the county according to Plunkett, he suggests bright days ahead for Laois.
"I would particularly like to express my deep gratitude to all the Laois players who committed so earnestly to the Laois senior hurling team for the last four years,’ Plunkett wrote, ‘I greatly valued the support and respect shown to me and the other members of the management team and I will take very happy memories and lasting friendships from my time as manager.
"Your total dedication to the hard training necessary to improve our performance standards and our county’s standing, perhaps best demonstrated by your commitment to preparing for the All-Ireland qualifiers in each of the four years, is to be admired.
"It is very easy to do that when you are regularly playing in League, Leinster or All-Ireland finals but when that prize is not as closely within your reach then it needs much greater character and love of place to commit yourself to the task.
"Indeed, that commitment was even more tested for those players who may not have got the playing opportunities of others. These are the real heroes I admire in every county panel. You are an exceptional group of players and, notwithstanding that CLG Laois has much immediate work to do at development level, I predict a bright future for the present Laois senior hurling team in the coming years.
"I believe that the incoming management has a very dedicated and skilful young panel to work with, who will be coming into their peak performance years, and the job now comes with attractions. I would like to wish the new manager and his management team the very best for the future."
These sentiments are, of course, at odds with the general perception Laois are not in the greatest of places.
Still, Plunkett was incredibly positive and thanked the county board and chairman Gerry Kavanagh for all of their support.
"I would like to express my gratitude to CLG Laois, and in particular to chairman Gerry Kavanagh, for affording me the huge honour to manage my county team and for supporting the team.
"The privilege of leading a group of Laois hurling warriors on championship Sundays will not be surpassed wherever one goes.
"I would like to express real gratitude to my fellow management colleagues over the past four years for the support and the dedication they have given to the team and to me personally.
"I am also very grateful to the Laois hurling clubs for their support to our county players in their preparations for League and Championship games and I am really thankful to all of the underage coaches in each club who give unstinting and mostly unappreciated service to improving their players so that they are capable of stepping up to senior club and inter-county hurling.
"Clubs also made their facilities available to us at different times and this was always done in the most positive and supportive way.
"I would also like to pay tribute to all Laois hurling supporters who followed our team to some distant places and though results may not have went our way they patiently turned up again the next day to unconditionally support our players. The support given to the team at our games in O’Moore Park was extra special and memorable and meant an awful lot to the team and management.
"I also appreciate the fair and balanced reporting of all of our games by all media outlets. In particular, the respect shown to our players by our local newspapers and radio is sincerely acknowledged," he added.