The second part of tonight’s O’Moore Park double header is the IFC final between Emo and Portlaoise.
Two years ago, these two clubs met in the SFC final where Portlaoise required a replay to defeat Pat Ryan’s Emo and win their ninth title in a row.
However, last year Emo were relegated from the SFC but they are now on the way back.
Under the guidance of player-manager Paul Lawlor, Emo have enjoyed a very positive year so far.
They reached the Kelly Cup final, finished comfortably mid-table in Division 1B and are now one step away from an immediate return to the top grade of football in Laois.
Emo began with a routine 3-15 to 1-6 win over Annanough and then went on to play tonight’s opponents Portlaoise in Round 2 where they won 2-13 to 1-11.
That put Emo straight into a semi final where they played fellow title favourites Timahoe.
This was very close encounter with Emo coming from five points down at half time to win by a point, 3-8 to 2-10, thanks to a late Pádraig Kirwan point.
As for Portlaoise, they defeated Barrowhouse by 1-12 to 0-8 in Round 1 before going down to Emo.
This meant they had to play a quarter final where The Rock were their opponents.
It looked like The Town were heading out but a late Craig Rogers free left the sides level at 1-10 to 0-13 and a replay had to be played.
This was another close affair but this time Jack Brown was Portlaoise’s hero as his late points gave them a 1-11 to 1-10 victory.
This set up a last four clash with Rosenallis. This looked a tricky clash on paper but Portlaoise had little trouble and won by 3-14 to 2-10.
When these two met in Mountmellick, Emo always looked like the better side. With the likes of Evan Costelloe and Paul Lawlor they certainly have firepower while Finbar Crowley and Pádriag Kirwan have added youth to the team.
A lot of how this goes will depend on how much Portlaoise have improved since their loss to Emo but we reckon the men in red and white will prevail.
ODDS: Emo 1/4, Portlaoise 3/1, Draw 12/1