There was no local rugby of note at the weekend but there was still a significant Laois involvement in the All Ireland League.
Liam Hyland from Ballacolla has been a regular starter for a talented UCD side in AIL Division 1A but they were well beaten – 45-8 – by leaders Lansdowne on Friday night and they are now just four points off the bottom.
There was plenty of Laois involvement in Division 1B. Abbeyleix’s Rory Moloney – a former schools international and member of the Connacht Academy – continues his recovery from injury and was flanker as Buccaneers maintained their push for promotion with a 36-14 win over Old Wesley. Rory Stynes, who has played football with Arles-Kilcruise and was with Laois for a short spell under Sean Dempsey’s management, was full-back for the Dublin side who have now dropped to sixth.
Shannon continued their revival under new coach Tom Hayes on Friday night with Keith Kavanagh, formerly of Portarlington and a Leinster Schools Cup winner with Cistercian Roscrea, featuring off the bench in their 43-20 win over city rivals UL Bohs in Thomond Park.
Kavanagh, who plays scrum-half, got his first try AIL try for Shannon a couple of weeks back and has established himself as a regular on their matchday squad in his first year out of school.
The famous Limerick club had a disastrous start to the season but have now won three games on the trot under Hayes (brother of former Irish prop John) who took over from another former Irish international Marcus Horan midway through the season. They are now out of the relegation spots but the win was bad news for two other Laois men as Bohs have lost ground at the top of the table.
Bohs are captained by No 8 Iain Condell from Castletown while Philip Dowling, another former Portarlington player, was the starting hooker.
The result means that Bohs are now 11 points off leaders Buccaneers and just one ahead of third-placed Naas who are making a serious push for promotion to the top level of Irish club for the first time in their history. They only came up from 2A last season but carried on their good run of form with a 30-8 win over bottom side Dolphin.
Among their try scorers were former Munster and Leicester player Johne Murphy and Fionn Carr, who played with Leinster and Connacht.
Meanwhile, it was another disappointing result for Galwegians and Portlaoise man Eoghan Masterson. They were beaten 14-13 by Ballymena and are in danger of dropping out of Division 1B but Masterson continues his rehab from a long-term injury and will be hoping to make his return to the Connacht set-up in the coming weeks.
Down the divisions, Navan had another good win with a 30-17 success over local rivals Boyne on Friday night. Navan are coached by Portlaoise’s Alan Kingsley and are top of Division 2C.