There is a war coming, warns Laois official

21 February 2017

O'Moore Park, Portlaoise.

Laois County Board assistant treasurer Kieran Leavy says GAA clubs must be prepared to go to war to hold onto their young players.

Amid increased demand for players' services from other sports and the impending switch of the underage soccer season from winter to summer, Leahy told a Laois County Board meeting that the battle lines have been drawn.

"The boom in population has had a detrimental effect on our town. Country teams are getting stronger in some places, but it's not the case in Portarlington. There are people coming down from Dublin, and they are playing different sports. Soccer in Portarlington is so strong at the moment, and they are moving to a summer season now too, the same as our juvenile season," the officer is quoted in The Leinster Express.

"My opinion is that if a young lad wants to go and play soccer, you tell him you don't want him any more. Lads might not agree with me, but we have to draw a line somewhere. There is a war coming, and if we don't draw down some battle lines we are going to lose players.

"Young players are told in soccer and rugby that they will be picked for Midlands or Leinster teams and it sounds great, but they are being forgotten about. The only ones looking after them are the GAA, no one can look after them as good as us."

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