All of the hurling action at adult level is now at an end in Laois for 2017.
All that remains in the U-21 championship which kicked off in recent weeks.
Since we last updated our rankings, there has been silverware handed out in all four of the top grades.
Camross were crowned Senior champions while Ballyfin Gaels will dine at the top table in 2018 after their Senior A success.
While last weekend, Trumera became intermediate winners for the second time in three years and Ballypickas became Junior winners.
These results are reflected in our final rankings for the year:
25 – Mountmellick (Down 1)
Crowned Junior B champions a while ago but fall due to the exploits of the team above them. We now understand that the Division 3 league final between them and Ballypickas will be played so that will be the only way to solve this 24th-25th ranking struggle that’s going on here.
24 – Ballypickas (Up 1)
23 – Slieve Bloom (No Change)
A win over Portlaoise in their earlier round had boosted their season but they were well beaten by Clough-Ballacolla in the rain in Mountrath to end their campaign.
22 – Park-Ratheniska (No Change)
Very little between themselves, Slieve Bloom and Portlaoise at the lower end of the IHC – as evidenced by Park’s one-point win over Portlaoise on Friday. Drawing Trumera and then Clonad meant they got the shorter straw in their first two games but the manner of their comeback against Portlaoise was encouraging for 2018.
21 – Camross (Second Team) (No change)
Beaten by Clonad after a replay in the IHC quarter-final, their season at this grade came to an end early. A lot of minors used though so encouraging signs for the future.
20 – Clough-Ballacolla (Second Team) (Down 1)
Their seniors reached a county final without raiding this team that were consistent throughout the season. They faced Rathdowney-Errill in a semi final but lost out in a five goal thriller.
19 – Clonad (Up 1)
They needed a replay to beat Camross in the IHC and then faced a semi-final with Trumera – which also went to a replay. They lost out to the eventual champions but rise a place having pushed them so far.
18 – Rathdowney-Errill (Second Team) (Down 1)
As with Ballacolla above, the fact that their seniors were beaten (albeit without gutting their second team) meant that all their focus was on this experienced outfit. And they looked to have claimed the IHC title but for a late comeback from Trumera.
17 – Borris-Kilcotton (Second Team) (Down 1)
Three years in the SHC ‘A’ for Borris-Kilcotton’s second team ended when they lost to Shanahoe Gaels by 22 points in the relegation final. It meant they lost their three games in this grade by an average of 17 and it was the third year running that they were in the relegation decider. That grade was a step too far for them but you’d imagine they’ll be intermediate contenders again next year.
16 – Trumera (Up 2)
These lads defied the odds to win the IHC two years ago and they did the same last weekend. With the majority of their team in their late 30s or early 40s, they stunned Rathdowney-Errill with a late comeback to move up a grade for next year.
15 – Shanahoe Gaels (No change)
They won by 22 points to save their status and on the back of their competitive showing against The Harps in the earlier round, it suggests that there is something worth sticking with with the Shanahoe-Ballypickas amalgamation. Not that much between them and the two teams above them here but losing 4-16 to 2-7 to Colt Gaels in Round 1 is a black mark against them.
14 – Mountrath (No change)
Relatively competitive against Ballyfin Gaels in their first game, they trounced Borris-Kilcotton in Round 2 but were then well beaten by Rosenallis in the quarter-final. Only for two lucky first-half goals in that game they’d have been beaten by a lot more.
13 – Clonaslee (No change)
Take away their big win against Borris-Kilcotton’s second team in Round 1 and you’re left with a tally of 1-4 against Colt Gaels the next day and a 19-point loss to The Harps. A disappointing year.
12 – The Harps (No change)
A disappointing season and after being fancied to make an immediate return to the senior grade, they will spend the 2018 season outside the top tier again. Of their four games, they lost two and only barely struggled past Shanahoe Gaels. Following relegation last year, they have slipped even further this season.
11 – Rosenallis (No change)
We fancied them to make the final but they were beaten by Colt Gaels and could have no real complaints. A decent season but they were beaten by the two teams above them and have improving to do if they’re to make the step up to senior.
10 – Colt Gaels (No Change)
Unbeaten until the final with three games and three wins. Chris Murray and Michael Kerr did the bulk of the scoring between them in their slightly surprising win over Rosenallis but they were no match for Ballyfin Gaels in the decider.
9 – Portlaoise (Down 1)
Three championship games, three losses – by a combined total of 42 points. It was a tough campaign and a young side – robbed of some of their more experienced players – found the going tough. Could well bounce back straight away next season when they’ll be looking to win their second SHC ‘A’ title in four years.
8 – Ballyfin Gaels (Up 1)
After years of final heartbreak, Ballyfin Gaels have finally made the step up to the top table of hurling in Laois. Fintan Deegan’s men were the best team at the grade all year and will be looking to make a real impression next year.
7 – Castletown (No change)
It was tight for a long time against Portlaoise but they finally did what they had to. Staying senior is a big boost to them and they could rattle a few of the teams above them next year. Have some good young players coming through – and the return of Conor Phelan will be a massive help – but they need a breakthrough win.
6 – Ballinakill Gaels (No Change)
Have to be credited fully for making full use of the resources they have. Plenty of quality but haven’t been able to eke out a win despite pushing both Borris-Kilcotton and Camross close.
5 – Rathdowney-Errill (No Change)
Losing Mark Kavanagh was a massive blow and then for Joe Fitzpatrick to pick up an injury playing football put a serious dent in their ambitions. Gave Clough-Ballacolla too much of a head start in the quarter-final and couldn’t pull it back despite a brave effort. A strange one but in 2018 they’ll be looking to end a four-year wait since their last title – by far the longest gap since the two clubs came together in 2005!
4 – Abbeyleix (No Change)
They produced the performance of the championship to beat Camross in Round 2 but they were utterly disappointing against Clough-Ballacolla in the semi final. Got off to a poor start and while they had two decent goal chances in the first half, they never looked like winning.
3 – Borris-Kilcotton (Down 1)
They were very disappointing against Camross and while they excelled in their win over Clough-Ballacolla, they won’t reflect fondly on their defence of their first championship title. Are good enough to bounce back in 2018.
2 – Clough-Ballacolla (Up 1)
Some turnaround since their 21-point loss to Borris-Kilcotton in Round 2. Clough-Ballacolla finish the year in second spot and are fully deserved of that placing after playing their part in a truly thriller senior hurling final. A point is all that separated them from Camross in the end of a mammoth encounter.
1 – Camross (No Change)
Completed a league and championship double. It was also the 25th time that the Bob O’Keeffe Cup headed back to Camross. Arien Delaney’s men know how to win close games and they will be hoping to carry that form into Leinster in the coming weeks.