Home Sport GAA Preview of Sunday’s Laois hurling finals as Rathdowney-Errill, Ballypickas and Trumera all...

Preview of Sunday’s Laois hurling finals as Rathdowney-Errill, Ballypickas and Trumera all go for glory

The last two adult hurling finals of the year take place in O’Moore Park this afternoon.

Rathdowney-Errill are in two of them as they go in search of a novel double but standing in their way are two proud clubs – Trumera and Ballypickas – keen to get their names on the silverware.

We look ahead to the two games and make a prediction on who’ll be celebrating after all the action.

Laois IHC Final

Rathdowney-Errill v Trumera in O’Moore Park at 3.30pm

The big game of the day is the intermediate decider and will decide who goes up to the Senior ‘A’ ranks in 2018.

Trumera were relegated last year but were champions in this grade as recently as 2015.

Both teams arrive at this stage unbeaten, although Trumera did need a replay to get the better of Clonad in the semi-final. They had earlier beaten Park-Ratheniska and Clough-Ballacolla.

As ever they rely on a small group of players and they mine everything they can from their limited playing resources. Three of their starting 15 are in their 40s and a further six are in their 30s. Incredible servant, 46-year-old Fint Callaghan, however, is back on the bench having deputised for Ronan Kavanagh in goals in the drawn semi-final.

Father and son combination Damien and Dylan Lalor will again be key to their hopes with Dylan hoping to win a second county medal in three days after he was part of the Emo football team that won the intermediate title on Friday night.

Cathal Brophy, Paul McSpadden and Joey Coogan will also be among their central players as will midfield duo of Niall Sinnott and Conor Mason.

Rathdowney-Errill have impressed en route to this stage, with their strong team proving too strong for Slieve Bloom, Camross and Clough-Ballacolla. They have a wealth of experience with the likes of Lar Mahon, Pat Mahon, Enda Meagher and Niall Delaney all having been on the starting team in senior county finals.

They have a good mix of youth too with the Jordie Kavanagh, Eoin Bourke and Paddy Meehan all in important roles.

Rathdowney-Errill look to have that bit extra scoring power and we reckon they can claim this one.

Verdict: Rathdowney-Errill

Paths to the final

Round 1 – Rathdowney-Errill 2-17 Slieve Bloom 0-17
Round 2 – Rathdowney-Errill 1-17 Camross 1-8
Semi-final – Rathdowney-Errill 3-15 Clough-Ballacolla 2-17

Round 1 – Trumera 0-12 Park-Ratheniska 0-10
Round 2 – Trumera 1-11 Clough-Ballacolla 1-7
Semi-final – Trumera 1-9 Clonad 0-12
Semi-final replay – Trumera 0-15 Clonad 2-6


Laois JHC ‘A’ Final

Rathdowney-Errill v Ballypickas in O’Moore Park at 1.45pm

Rathdowney-Errill have teams in the intermediate and junior championship finals in what could be a historic day for the club.

Ballypickas are on course for a league and championship double and will contest their first junior final since losing out to Timahoe five years ago.

MJ Lalor will be a key player for Ballypickas in this final showdown. Lalor has been their top scored and hit 1-8 as his side came out four point winners over Castletown to reach the final.

Kieran Bowe, Jim Leech and Paddy Boggan will also play pivotal roles in the Ballypickas setup.

Ballypickas arrive at the final with a 100% record and an average winning margin of nine points but an injury to Liam Lalor, picked up in the semi-final, and a suspended Cillian McEvoy will prove to be huge losses.

Rathdowney-Errill overcame The Harps by five points in the semi-final to make it through to the decider, a result that completed their recovery from an opening round loss to Borris-Kilcotton. They have recovered well with wins over Timahoe, Ballinakill and The Harps and will be hoping to complete that turnaround today.

They were heavily beaten by Slieve Bloom in this final last year – but such is the nature of junior teams in a big club, there is a large turnover of players with only five of last year’s team back starting today.

Key-players for Rathdowney-Errill include the likes of Paddy Whelan, Conor Madden and Colm Ryan while John Paul Ryan will be hoping to add to his collection of senior medals and Ned Brown and Colm, Shaun and Brian Meehan all bring a lot of experience to the side. Younger players like Brandon McGinley, Emmet Kilmartin and Conor Madden will all be hoping to contribute hugely too.

We’re backing Rathdowney-Errill to win this one.

Verdict: Rathdowney-Errill

Paths to the Final

Round 1 –
Ballypickas 0-16 Abbeyleix 0-8
Round 2 – Ballypickas 1-15 Borris-Kilcotton 0-5
Semi-final – Ballypickas 2-15 Castletown 3-6

Round 1 – Borris-Kilcotton 0-16 Rathdowney-Errill 0-13
Round 2 – Rathdowney-Errill 3-11 Timahoe 3-8
Quarter-final – Rathdowney-Errill 2-14 Ballinakill 2-7
Semi-final –  Rathdowney-Errill 0-15 The Harps 0-10



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