The 2017 Laois football and hurling Championship Draws will take place tonight in the Laois Shopping Centre from 7pm.
With memories of Jody Dillon’s last minute title-winning strike for Stradbally against Portlaoise in the SFC decider last October still fresh in everyone’s minds, there will be a large degree of excitement around who is drawn against who tonight.
Portlaoise, who were going for ten in a row until their neighbours stopped them, are likely to begin the senior championship as favourites again with the likes of Stradbally, St Joseph’s, Arles-Killeen and Graiguecullen.
Borris-Kilcotton won their first SHC title since their amalgamation in 2011 when the Brian Stapleton captained side beat Rathdowney-Errill after a replay in September.
The men in green and red were the fourth different winners of the Bob O’Keefe Cup in the last four years which highlights the extremely competitive nature of the of the championship.
Clough-Ballacolla, Rathdowney-Errill and Camross will all be looking to push the holders and don’t rule out Ballinakill or Abbeyleix also.
The Harps will be looking to make an immediate return to the senior ranks following their relegation to the SHC ‘A’ last year.
The Durrow outfit will face stiff competition to do so however.
Ballyfin were edged out by the narrowest of margins by Castletown last year while Clonaslee-St. Manman’s and Colt won’t be too far away either with newly promoted Rosenallis also hoping to have a say.
The IFC looks wide open this year. Emo were relegated down from senior last year and, now under the management of player Paul Lawlor, they will strive to make an immediate return as they did in 2012.
But they will have to overcome challenges from the likes of Timahoe, Courtwood and Annanough to do so while Paddy Dunne’s Rosenallis, fresh off the back of their Leinster run last year, look an exciting prospect.