Laois' new trial system for senior team is a stroke of genius by John Sugrue
This is brilliant.
You think this is a quiet time of the year for inter-county managers. They've no training sessions, all they're doing is waiting for December for county training to get going again, right?
No chance. The county bosses the length and breadth of the country are popping up at club games at every opportunity they can. They're scouting, spotting talent for next year, trying to unearth that gem that has for some reason not made county yet.
And though it's their aim to see every player in the county, that's impossible. There are too many clubs, too many championships and too many games. Junior and intermediate clubs are forgotten about because there's a senior game at the same time and that's just the lie of the land.
And so these players just aren't heard tell of. They may be head and shoulders above their opponents and they may be county standard but they don't get their break because the right people weren't there watching them.
Take the case in Laois for example, which Colm Parkinson explained on Thursday's GAA Hour podcast.
"So there are only four teams left in the Laois championship, there are loads of teams that are already out so he can't really see them...and you can't be at every game in the county...So a manager is not going to see all the club games.
Well Laois manager John Sugrue has taken a stand. He's stood up for all of them and he's come up with a great idea to help himself find these players and for these players to show off their talents.
Instead of the mundane trials that generally involve the same group of players that were there last year, Sugrue has opened the trial system up.
"So John Sugrue has divided Laois into four regions (For a competition.) The competition will start the week after the county final with the county champions being excluded, which will be Portlaoise - and he'll know those players anyway."
And the competition goes like this.
- Laois is divided into four regions (West/Northwest, Northeast, Central East, Southeast)
- The pick of the players from all clubs in their given region make the regional team - via a trial system.
- The competition will take place on Round-Robin basis over three successive weekends.
- Top two divisional teams qualify for cup final
- Bottom two play in a shield final on same weekend
Sugrue spoke about his plan in the programme of last weekend's quarter finals.
"Independent managers will be put in place for each team and will hopefully give the players a chance to play in a condensed talent type situation. We'll be narrowing down the panel of players from this, and from there, 2019 begins," he said.
"Every single county in Ireland will be watching this saying, 'we should be doing this,'" said Conan Doherty.
Leinster Express have done a great job of predicting the teams in Laois for this competition here.
You can listen to this chat and much more from Thursday's GAA Hour Show right here.