A young Laois supporter will remember the trip to Aughrim on Saturday for a long time as he came home from the Wicklow venue with a prized possession – the number nine jersey worn by Colm Begley.
Ten-year-old Ben O’Connor, who lives in The Grange in Portlaoise, had met Begley at his school, the Holy Family, on Friday. The experienced Laois player was there as part of the school’s celebrations for being honoured with an Amber Flag for their promotion of mental health.
“He told the lads that Laois would win,” said Ben’s father Derek who travelled to the game with Ben and two of his friends Owen and Conor. “When the match was over we went down on to the pitch to get autographs and Colm came over and gave Ben his jersey.
“We just want to thank Colm because it was a really nice gesture,” added Derek.
Ben is a massive Laois supporter and plays hurling and football with Portlaoise as well as soccer with Portlaoise AFC.
Indeed it was an eventful trip to Wicklow for Ben, his friends and Derek. They stopped in Tinahely looking for directions only to end up bringing the man they asked – a Wicklow supporter – on to Aughrim with them. Their passenger also proceeded to try to sell them concession tickets at full price!
But the day will certainly be remembered fondly by Ben who is looking forward to the Qualifier Round 2 draw on Monday and Laois’s next game – wherever that may take them.