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Football Team of the Week following significant weekend

Alan Farrell was immense for Ballylinan this evening as they beat St Joseph's
Alan Farrell is named at midfield

Well what a weekend of Gaelic football that was!

Mayo and Dublin went at it hammer and thongs yesterday in one of the most exciting All-Ireland football finals in recent times.

But before all that, we had a number of significant matches in the Laois JFC, IFC and SFC.

Nine matches in total were played between Thursday and Saturday evening producing seven results and one draw.

The Junior footballers of Kilcavan and O’Dempsey’s will have to do it all over again as the former came from 13 points down to earn a draw on Thursday night.

But aside from that, we now know who will contest the IFC final and the SFC semi-finals.

We also saw Mountmellick Gaels relegated from the SFC after their loss in the decider to Arles-Kilcruise.

And the task at hand here is to pick the best 15 players from the game’s that were played – which was extremely difficult.

But we’ve done our best and a total of 11 clubs are represented:

1 – Graham Brody (Portlaoise)

Laois’s Number 1 is probably taken for granted a bit sometimes for just how good he actually is. When teams set up defensively against Portlaoise, like O’Dempsey’s did on Saturday, Brody becomes even more important because his ability to run with the ball forces a defender to come out of their shape and creates space for others. His kickouts were flawless and he pulled off a great save from Conor Meredith at an important time. The complete display.

2 – Jimmy O’Connor (Timahoe)

With Damien O’Connor moving to full-back to pick up Paul Lawlor, younger brother Jimmt was freed up and he got through an amount of ball, particularly in the first half. His pass for Conor Whelehan’s goal was exceptional. O’Connor was a member of Mark Rooney’s Laois minor team which reached the Leinster final in 2016 and has a bright future.

3 – David McDemott (Killeshin)

It was a tough night for the Killeshin lads in general against Ballylinan as their championship campaign came to an end. But one player who did very well was full back David McDermott. He was marking Cathail Dunne and never gave him an inch all night.

4 – Joe Mulhare (Arles-Killeen)

Arles-Killeen’s season came to an end after a disastrous second half performance saw them lose for a second time to Portarlington. Joe Mulhare was tasked with marking live-wire Colm Murphy and he held him scoreless from play.

5 – Pádraig Kirwan (Emo)

Kirwan has great pace and got up and down the field countless times against Timahoe. He was minor this year and his winning point after he ran from inside his own half was a brilliant effort.

6 – Paddy O’Sullivan (Portarlington)

A player who showed so much potential at juvenile level but has been severely hampered with injuries since turning senior. However, he seems to have put those behind him now and did very well once again on Donie Kingston as Portarlington reached the last four.

7 – Alan Farrell (Ballylinan)

It was a difficult year for most Laois footballers this year but one player who always seemed to play well was Alan Farrell. And he has continued that into the club championship – scoring 1-2 on Saturday night in a big win over Killeshin.

8 – Ian Fleming (Graiguecullen)

Fleming kicked a couple of fine second-half frees, two lovely ones midway through the half, and one that proved to be the winner in injury time. Got through a lot of ball too.

9 – Darren Strong (Emo)

Kicked a couple of really good points for Emo in the first half when they were badly needed and got on a lot of ball throughout their IFC semi-final against Timahoe

10 – Chris Conway (Arles-Kilcruise)

He exemplifies everything that Arles-Kilcruise are. Conway began the game at corner forward but soon found himself out around the middle third as he rolled back the years to keep his team up. He sprayed the ball intelligently in to younger brother David and Ross Munnelly throughout as well as winning an ocean of breaking ball.

11 – Tom Kelly (St Joseph’s)

So good was Tom Kelly on Thursday night against Park-Ratheniska that you’d wonder if the seniors were tempted to use him 24 hours later. He is in incredible condition and popped up all over the field for St Joseph’s – chipping in with a number of fine scores too.

12 – Mick Tarpey (Kilcavan)

Tarpey hadn’t played a minute of championship football for Kilcavan this year because of injury but with Rory O’Connell suspended for their semi-final clash with Kilcavan, Tarpey came in on the half forward line. Scored three brilliant points from play, including the equaliser in injury time

13 – Jordan Fitzpatrick (Portarlington)

It’s rare that a substitute makes our Team of the Week list but such was the impact of this young man that he earns a place. Fitzpatrick is looking to add a senior medal to the minor one already in his back pocket and his two goals were crucial for Portarlington.

14 – Gary Walsh (Ballylinan)

Walsh was very quiet in the first half when operating on the half forward line. However, a switch to the full forward line in the second half brought him to life and his goal proved crucial as it opened a gap which Killeshin couldn’t close.

15 – Brian McCormack (Portlaoise)

He’s still got it. Bruno hadn’t looked himself in Portlaoise’s opening two wins but he was in fine form on Saturday evening. His movement was sharp and he kicked four excellent points.

SEE ALSO – Sarsfields reach ladies football decider again as they see off Timahoe in delayed semi-final

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.