The second most important competition in club football in Laois gets underway this week as the Intermediate championship begins.
There are four games to look forward to this week – two on Thursday and another two on Friday.
Emo are the side who were relegated from senior last year and they will begin as favourites but it is likely to be wide open again.
Timahoe will be there or abouts while Rosenallis, Portlaoise and Courtwood will also fancy their chances.
But ahead of the start of the competition, and just like we did with the hurling last week, we’ve taken a look at one promising young star from each team who should make a real impression in the championship.
Annanough – Elliott Scully
Annanough have struggled throughout much of 2017 but one of the few bright sparks has been Elliott Scully.
The teenager, who transferred from Courtwood last year, scored freely in the league games that he played and was a real menace for defences.
If Annanough are to make any impression this year, they will need him to continue that form.
Barrowhouse – Brian Malone
John Larkin’s Barrowhouse narrowly avoided an immediate return to junior last year and they will be striving to make a better impression this time.
They have lost Brian Daly after he transferred to St Joseph’s and they face a difficult first round tie against Portlaoise.
And while Daly certainly chipped in with a lot of scores last year, perhaps inside forward Brian Malone could help reduce the impact of his absence.
Courtwood – Alan Kinsella
Courtwood are a club on the up with a number of very promising young players either having made the step up to senior or are on the way.
One of those is Alan Kinsella, son of manager Eddie.
The forward was Laois minor captain this year and caught the eye once again in a battle ACFL Division 2 final display for Courtwood against Mountmellick a few weeks ago. He is certainly their one to watch.
Emo – Cian Langford
Emo will begin the championship as favourites and will rely on their blend of youth and experience so see them through.
Alongside the likes of Finbar Crowley, Liam Crowley and Seamie McEvoy, Cian Langford is another very promising player.
He was with the Laois minors this year and played a stormer in Emo-Courtwood-The Rock’s minor quarter final win over Ballyroan-Abbey on Monday night.
Portlaoise – Frank Flanagan
It’s always difficult to predict what players will end up where when it comes to second teams, but if Frank Flanagan isn’t lost to the Portlaoise seniors, he could be a big player for the intermediates.
The tall defender has got a lot of minutes under his belt for both Portlaoise sides this year and will be hoping to push on to the first team at some stage.
But he will surely start for the intermediates against Barrowhouse on Friday night to begin with.
Rosenallis – Joseph Keating
Rosenallis are an extremely young side who are riding the crest of a wave at the moment.
The likes of John Lennon, Ruiari C-Fennell, Eoin Dunne and Paul Maher all deserve honourable mention but we’ve gone for Joseph Keating.
This lightening quick inside forward will cause many a man marker a problem.
The Rock – Anavil Storey
The Rock reached the semi-final last year but their league form suggests they are going to struggle to get anywhere near that this time around.
But one player certainly worth keeping an eye out for is Anavil Storey.
The pacey player can operate in defence or attack and his legs will be a big part of how The Rock will play this year.
Timahoe – James O’Connor
Timahoe have brought a number of young players through to the intermediate team in the last number of years.
The likes of Colum Dunne, Andy Daly, Seán Dundon, Seán Daly and Conor Whelehan will all feature prominently as Timahoe seek to end their stay in the second tier.
But the player we are going for is James O’Connor. Younger brother of Laois senior Damien, James will be at the heart of Timahoe’s defence this season.
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