Seven Laois football clubs were in action over the past week and we’ve selected the best 15 players from those games.
Emo and Portlaoise are Laois’s only Leinster club representatives left standing after a weekend which saw both of our remaining hurling teams eliminated.
The Emo lads played out a thrilling draw against Dublin side Ballyboughal in the quarter final of the Leinster championship and will now play the replay this weekend.
Elsewhere, there were three U-21 football games down for decision.
The B final is now confirmed after Na Fianna Óg defeated Rosenallis in their replay and will now play Ballylinan in the decider.
While in the A, Stradbally Parish Gaels and Portarlington will have to do it again after they drew in the semi final.
The other semi final will see St Joseph’s take on Graiguecullen after the former defeated Portlaoise last week.
In total, players from seven clubs are represented.
1 – Darragh Phelan (Na Fianna Óg)
The former Laois minor goalkeeper kept a clean sheet against Rosenallis to guide Na Fianna Óg to their first ever U-21 final in their first year as a new amalgamation. The Barrowhouse man will need to be on top form in the decider too.
2 – Cormac White (Rosenallis)
Rosenallis were forced to play a replay against Na Fianna Óg after Fergal Murphy’s late goal in the original fixture. But the Barrowhouse man was held scoreless this time as Cormac White marshalled him and the rest of the Na Fianna attack very well.
3 – James Kelly (St Joseph’s)
Kelly has had an incredible year on a personal level and it isn’t finished yet. Having broken into the Laois senior football team already, he showed incredible nerve to land a long range free with virtually the last kick to see off Portlaoise.
4 – Paddy Dunne (Emo)
This man suffered a horrific injury a couple of years ago but has recovered and is in great form at the moment. Was tigerish in the tackle on Saturday and will need to be at his best again this weekend.
5 – Killian Horgan (Stradbally Parish Gaels)
The Annanough teenager has been in our team of the week before but his performance on Thursday night simply couldn’t be overlooked. He charged at Portarlington relentlessly and stood out despite giving away four years to some of his opponents.
6 – Eoin Buggie (Stradbally Parish Gaels)
Any player who kicks ten points in a match deserves praise, but to do it from centre back is simply remarkable. The Gaels lost Tom Shiel to injury early in the first half and Buggie took over the free taking duty, nailing every single one of them.
7 – Gary Saunders (Portlaoise)
Another one of the Laois U-17 stars who excelled in an U-21 match last week. Saunders played at centre back for Portlaoise and held it very well. Put in a number of big hits and seems certain to be a senior star in years to come.
8 – Darren Strong (Emo)
A simply flawless display of shooting from Darren Strong. The Laois senior footballer kicked eight points in total, six of those from play. Will need to be at his very best again in the replay.
9 – Niall Wheeler (Emo)
A warrior for Emo all year and he was at it again on Saturday. Wheeler began in midfield but switched to the half back line in the second half where he remained. Got through an immense amount of work.
10 – Brian Daly (St Joseph’s)
Daly was there when St Joseph’s needed him most on Friday night. His side were staring defeat in the face but two late points – he kicked six in total – drew Joseph’s level before Kelly kicked the winner.
11 – Dylan Doyle (St Joseph’s)
Another player who has significant senior experience and showed it on Friday night. Dylan ended the game with 1-2 and moved all over the place to cause havoc.
12 – John Kavanagh (Portlaoise)
Scored a goal in the senior final and was in fine form again. He kicked four great points for a Portlaoise side which played with 14 men for almost all of the second half and were desperately unlucky not to get over the line.
13 – Jordan Fitzpatrick (Portarlington)
Fitzpatrick is hoping to add an U-21 title to the minor medal he collected a couple of months ago. He scored a great goal against Stradbally Parish Gaels and Portarlington really missed him when he was black carded in the second half.
14 – Colm Murphy (Portarlington)
Murphy was unlucky not to make our Senior Team of the Year and he was brilliant against the Gaels on Friday. He kicked 1-5 and looked a threat every time the ball came his way.
15 – David Gorman (Emo)
The final spot on the team came down between David Gorman and Paul Lawlor. Despite the latter scoring 1-4, the former just edges ahead owing to his brilliant movement. He kicked a great point and laid the goal on a plate for Finbar Crowley.