The GAA season is Laois is almost at an end.
All that now remains is three U-21 finals – two football and one hurling.
The past week saw the end of Laois’s participation at Leinster level as both Portlaoise and Emo were eliminated.
While at U-21 level, Portarlington and Graiguecullen will tussle in the A decider after seeing off Stradbally Parish Gaels and St Joseph’s respectably.
And their efforts have been reflected below:
1 – Graham Brody (Portlaoise)
At times it seemed like he was the only Portlaoise player capable of breaking the tackle. Brody was everywhere on Sunday after missing the previous round and was definitely one of the Town’s main men.
2 – Tunde Ogunfowora (Graiguecullen)
A vocal presence from the back, Ogunfowora marshalled the Graiguecullen defence from start to finish. And he really came to the fore when St Joseph’s turned the screw in the second half with a number of key interceptions.
3 – David Seale (Portlaoise)
Eanna O’Connor, son of Kerry legend Jack, caused havoc in the first 15 minutes of Moorefield’s win over Portlaoise. However, manager Malachy McNulty moved David Seale onto him then and that kept him quiet until he popped up for that crucial goal.
4 – Alex Mohan (Portarlington)
Portarlington scored 3-17 on Saturday afternoon but it was the performance of their defenders which was also noteworthy – in particular this guy. Alex Mohan was with the Laois minors this year and he has grown in confidence with every game he has played.
5 – Colin Slevin (Portarlington)
Colin Slevin’s potential is immense and he was at his very best on Saturday against Stradbally Parish Gaels. He scored 1-3 as the Gaels had simply no answer to his late running from the half back line.
6 – Trevor Collins (Graiguecullen)
Made our senior team of the year and showed just why on Sunday morning in Stradbally against St Joseph’s. A powerful runner at this age, he played a key role in the all important goal for Brian Byrne in the first half.
7 – Liam Knowles (Stradbally Parish Gaels)
Sporting a mask after picking up a serious facial injury a few weeks ago, Knowles never gave up despite the gulf that existed between the two teams in Ratheniska. Kept running at Portarlington till the end and kicked a fine point too.
8 – Brian Daly (St Joseph’s)
Moved to midfield early on having started at wing forward and helped his side to dominate that sector. Converted four frees but missed the chance to equalise – albeit from over 45 metres.
9 – Finbarr Crowley (Emo)
Emo’s Leinster campaign ended on Saturday in Dublin but it wasn’t for the lack of effort from this man. A Laois minor last year, Crowley has been impressive all season and helped himself to two points in Dublin.
10 – Jordan Fitzpatrick (Portarlington)
This is a man who is playing at a high level in rugby but is certainly someone Portarlington and even Laois would wish to see concentrating on football. He’s strong, powerful, fast and skillful – a lethal combination.
11 – Brian Byrne (Graiguecullen)
A member of the Laois U-21 team this year and also a key component of Graiguecullen’s senior team. Took the only goal chance of the game very well and will need to perform well again on Saturday.
12 – Conor Kealy (St Joseph’s)
St Joseph’s operated for most of the game with a roving forward line and Kealy was the best of them. He kicked three points from play during their second half comeback that just fell short.
13 – Jake Foster (Portarlington)
Portarlington had Jason Ward ruled out of Saturday’s replay through suspension and his replacement did so well that he will surely hold his place for the final. Foster landed six points in total, five from play, and is a real livewire.
14 – Tom Shiel (Stradbally Parish Gaels)
It was a tough afternoon for the Gaels but Tom Shiel was their best player on show. Despite playing with a heavily strapped upper leg, he managed to kick 1-6 all from play. Simply remarkable stuff.
15 – Danny Bolger (Graiguecullen)
Danny Bolger is someone who is making a real name for himself as a forward. Having played most of his career in goals, he has been deadly from frees for Graiguecullen in this U-21 run that has taken them to the final.