The club football season in Laois is almost at an end.
All competitions bar one will have come to an end by Sunday afternoon after the U-17 and senior finals have been played.
But in the last seven days, we had three matches down for decision.
The Intermediate final replay took place on Friday night where Emo saw off Portlaoise.
There was also the semi-finals of the second ever U-17 football championship.
On Saturday afternoon, Stradbally Parish Gaels came from seven points down to defeat St Joseph’s.
While on Monday night, Emo-Courtwood-The Rock avenged their minor final loss to Portarlington.
So to recognise the performances of these lads, we bring you the team of the week:
1 – Simon Hartnett (Stradbally Parish Gaels)
It’s by a process of elimination that Hartnett gets the nod. All of the other keepers involved made mistakes which led to goals while Hartnett pulled off a big save to deny Josh O’Brien in the first half for the Gaels
2 – Paddy Dunne (Emo)
Emo’s defence was under pressure in the drawn game but they were much better on Friday, limiting Portlaoise to just seven scores. Paddy Dunne was immense all night and is fully deserving of his place.
3 – Eamonn Delaney (Stradbally Parish Gaels)
There was a substantial height difference between the Gaels’ full back and St Joseph’s full forward on Saturday afternoon but Delaney did brilliantly. St Joseph’s had by far the lions share of possession and pumped ball after ball into the full forward line but the number 3 was equal to most of it.
4 – Cathal Bennett (Portarlington)
Portarlington relinquished their grip on the Laois U-17 title on Monday evening after their loss to Emo-Courtwood-The Rock. It was a difficult evening for all concerned but Cathal Bennett did very well. His goal saw him run more the 40 metres with the ball before rattling the net – a player with real promise.
5 – Pádraig Kirwan (Emo)
A man who missed out on the Laois minor team this year but has certainly benefitted from playing adult football all season. Kirwan flew up and down the wing all Friday night and scored a very good point too.
6 – Niall Wheeler (Emo)
Very unlucky not to be named man of the match on Friday night. Wheeler was immense against Portlaoise. He marshalled the half back line brilliantly and if he was only a few years younger there’d be serious calls for him to be included in John Sugrue’s Laois panel.
7 – Seán O’Neill (Emo-Courtwood-The Rock)
This young man from The Rock was tasked with marking one of the county’s most promising players – Colin Slevin. But O’Neill never gave the Laois U-17 captain a minutes peace and kicked a great point himself in the process.
8 – Bernard Wheatley (St Joseph’s)
Named to start at full forward, Wheatley actually formed a formidable midfield pairing with Dean Brophy. The two St Joseph’s men controlled the skies for long periods on Saturday with Wheatley also kicking a fine point.
9 – Killian Horgan (Stradbally Parish Gaels)
The Annanough man began the game at centre back but his switch to midfield was one of the main reasons the Gaels won. He scored the first of three quickfire second half goals which ultimately proved decisive.
10 – Finbarr Crowley (Emo)
Power, pace, stamina – Crowley has it all. Having started at midfield in the drawn game, a move to wing forward gave him more freedom and it certainly worked a treat.
11 – Matthew Byron (Emo-Courtwood-The Rock)
Byron was deadly accurate from frees on Monday evening and he needed to be as his side edged a high scoring affair. The Courtwood man finished the game with 1-6 and was the highest scorer on the night.
12 – Ronan Molloy (Portlaoise)
A combination of injuries and poor shooting meant that Portlaoise just couldn’t compete with Emo last Friday night. But Ronan Molloy kept working all night and could be an option off the bench for Malachy McNulty on Sunday now that the Intermediate is over.
13 – Josh O’Brien (St Joseph’s)
St Joseph’s outscored Stradbally Parish Gaels by 11 scores to 8 but it wasn’t enough to win. Josh O’Brien was one of their main inside threats and he ended the affair with four points and was very unlucky not to have a goal too.
14 – Paul Lawlor (Emo)
Player manager Paul Lawlor’s incredible performance was crucial for Emo. He scored two goals in about 90 seconds at the start of the second half and also chipped in with four points in a man of the match winning display.
15 – Seán Greene (Emo-Courtwood-The Rock)
This man was influential as St Paul’s-The Rock claimed the U-16 FC title a few weeks ago and he was in fine form again on Monday night. His first half goal came at an important time and he also set up Niall Dunne for another.