Following on from the success of our Laois GAA football Power Rankings, we bring you our Laois soccer clubs equivalent.
The soccer season has just finished for another year so we’ve sat down and crunched the numbers on the top teams.
This was even more difficult that the GAA version because we were comparing teams who were playing in four different leagues – the Leinster Senior League, CCFL, Kilkenny League and Carlow League.
Making a call on whether a team playing in the fourth tier of the CCFL is better than a team playing in the third tier of the Carlow League is higher up or lower down is very difficult.
To make it somewhat easier, we discounted all second teams which left us with 22 clubs to choose from.
And after much debate, we bring you our list:
22 – Wolfhill Athletic
Somebody had to be last and unfortunately for the men from the mountain, the honour falls to Wolfhill Athletic.
Potentially it is a bit harsh given the fact that they did win the Division 3 Cup in the Carlow League a few weeks ago.
However, Wolfhill finished third in the bottom tier of the Carlow Football League and that keeps them down here.
21 – St Aengus
The Mountrath side are probably one of the up and coming forces in Laois.
They won Division 4A of the CCFL and had a very good cup run also. With a newly refurbished pitch and a booming juvenile section, St Aengus are certainly a club on the up.
20 – St Anne’s
Ballylinan’s only soccer club compete in the third tier of the Carlow District League.
They missed out on promotion after finishing six points behind Mill Celtic and will hope for greater fortunes next season.
19 – Maryborough
Maryborough just avoided the dreaded drop to Division 4 of the CCFL after enduring a tough league campaign.
The Portlaoise based outfit won just four league games and are another side who will be hoping that the new season brings better things
18 – Ballacolla
The first entrant for the Kilkenny District League is Ballacolla FC who were crowned Division 3 champions this year.
Sporting former Laois hurler Darren Maher in goals, Ballacolla went through the entire season unbeaten and collected the title after beating Deen Celtic 3-1 in their final game.
17 – Abbeyleix Athletic
This is a side which really shouldn’t be as low as they are – given their history and the strength of their juvenile section.
But Abbeyleix Athletic find themselves in the sixth tier of the CCFL after being relegated from Division 2 this year.
It’s disappointing to see such an established club so low but hopefully they can begin to turn things around.
16 – O’Moore FC
This Portlaoise based club enjoyed a very busy season which saw them end up with one trophy while they strongly contested for three.
O’Moore finished third in Division 3 and were then beaten in the Division 3 Cup semi-final by BBC United.
However, they finished the season on a high by beating Highfield United 2-1 in the O’Neils LFA Junior Shield final.
15 – Portarlington Town
Another team on the up, Portarlington Town just missed out on promotion to Division 1 of the CCFL after finishing third in Division 2.
Their cup progress was impeded by another Laois side, Raheen, but with them now gone up a Division next season, Portarlington will be hoping for a fruitful year.
14 – Stradbally Town
Stradbally Town reached the Division 1 Cup final in 2016 but they really struggled in Division 1 of the CCFL this year.
The men in green were relegated and must now look to rebuild their squad for the coming year.
13 – Raheen
What a year the men from Raheen had this year. They reached the final of the Paddy Cotter and Division 2 Cups, and the CCFL Cup semi final.
The lost the Paddy Cotter Cup to Willow Park, a side ranked several divisions above and were eliminated in the CCFL Cup by St Peter’s who were later crowned Senior Division champions.
While the Division 2 Cup final resulted in a 2-0 loss to Horseleap.
But the Raheen men claimed the Division 2 league title and will now play in Division 1 for the first time in their history.
12 – Portlaoise Shamrocks
After a mediocre league campaign saw them finish mid-table in the CCFL Division 1, Portlaoise Shamrocks saved their best for the Division 1 Cup.
Boasting former Laois GAA greats Colm Parkinson, Bruno McCormack and Kevin Fitzpatrick in their ranks, the Portlaoise outfit beat Walsh Island Shamrocks 3-1 in the decider.
11 – Durrow Lions
It’s the middle of the road for Durrow Lions who compete in the second tier of the Kilkenny League.
Lions narrowly preserved their Division 1 status this year, finishing two points above the drop and they will be hoping for better in the new season.
10 – Clover United
The Rathdowney based outfit also play in the Kilkenny League and in the same division as Durrow Lions.
But their third placed finish, eight points back from eventual winners Highview Athletic, earns them a place higher that their Laois counterparts.
9 – Towerhill Rovers
Towerhill will play in the Premier Division of the CCFL after coming in as runners up in Division 1 this year.
However, they almost ended the year with silverware as a playoff to decide the title was required between themselves and Derry Rovers – with the Offaly team winning in the end.
8 – Rosenallis
A mixed year for Rosenallis who will be happy to stay in the Premier Division for another year.
They almost made it to the cup final but lost on penalties to Camlin United in the semi-final.
7 – Arlington
A youthful Arlington side really struggled in the top tier of the CCFL – finishing bottom in the end.
But the Portarlington based side have made the switch to summer soccer and will now play in the Kildare league so it will be interesting to see how they fare.
6 – St Fiacc’s
It’s hard to say whether the top tier in the Carlow league is better than the second tier of the CCFL but if we say that it is, then St Fiaccs come in at number 6.
The first of two Graiguecullen clubs on the list finished sixth in the Premier Division and will look to build on that next year.
5 – St Patrick’s Boys
Just coming in one place over their neighbours St Fiacc’s is St Patrick’s Boys.
The other Graiguecullen club edging in fourth place on account of their fifth placed finish in the Premier Division.
4 – Clonaslee United
Clonaslee will play in the top tier of the CCFL next season after a very successful league campaign.
The Laois side finished runners-up in the Premier Division to Clara Town and will enjoy being the highest ranked Laois team in the CCFL next year.
3 – Killeshin FC
We’re into the top three now and in third place comes another side who play in the Carlow League, Killeshin FC.
They finished fourth in the Premier Division and although they were 20 points behind the eventual winners, this was a positive season for a very young side.
2 – Crettyard United
Crettyard United have dominated the Carlow Premier Division for the last number of years and they added another title to their haul this year – finishing two points above New Oak Boys.
They also enjoyed a great run in the Leinster Junior Cup, including a memorable win over Crumlin United.
And their season isn’t over yet as they go for a league and cup double on Saturday evening when they take on Parkville United in the Carlow Cup final.
1 – Portlaoise AFC
The undisputed kings of soccer in Laois are Portlaoise AFC.
Ger Dunne’s side are the only club in Laois at intermediate level and they won the Leinster Senior League Division 1B in dramatic circumstances a few weeks ago.
Sporting a former Irish International in Paul Cahillane – Portlaoise are a joy to watch.
They have a brilliant academy and juvenile section which will ensure that they will continue grow for the foreseeable future.
READ ALSO – Laois GAA Power Rankings: Football