Here at LaoisToday we do our best to cover as many GAA matches as possible.
We got to venues all around the county and followed our Laois teams around the country.
And now we’ve compiled a list of the ten best football games of the year.
1 – Offaly 3-15 Laois 4-11
Allianz Football League Division 3 – Sunday, April 2
The result marked a low ebb in what was a particularly bad season for the Laois footballers, the one-point loss ensuring they were relegated to Division 4 of the National League for the first time in 50 years.
But it was a cracking game, one that saw Offaly win 3-15 to 4-11. On a gloriously sunny day in Tullamore, Offaly led 1-9 to 1-6 after a fine first half and went seven up on two occasions in the second half.
But despite the sending off of Kevin Meaney, Laois fought back to reduce the gap to one. And they very nearly got the draw they needed to ensure survival – but Darren Strong’s effort just went wide. Read the report here.
2 – Portarlington 3-14 Arles-Killeen 1-13
Laois Shopping Centre SFC Round 1 Replay
Portarlington and Arles-Killeen met three times in the Laois SFC this year – and all three were gripping games in their own right.
In the opening round back in August, they drew on a Saturday evening in O’Moore Park, when a late Jason Enright saved Eoin Kearns’ side.
Despite having plenty of chances, Port looked to be beaten in the second half of the replay when they trailed by four points.
But they mounted a comeback and minor Jordan Fitzpatrick pointed the equaliser late on. They went on to dominate extra time with a brilliant goal from Jason Moore settling it for them. You can read the full report here.
3 – Emo 2-17 Ballyboughal (Dublin) 3-14
Leinster Club IFC Quarter-final
When Emo were paired with Dublin representatives Ballyboughal in the Leinster Club IFC, they opted to play it at their home grounds instead of O’Moore Park – and it turned out to be a brilliant game as well as a great occasion.
From the very start, it was a fine game and despite a really good start, the Dublin side led 2-6 to 2-5 at the break.
The lead switched hands on a number of occasions in the second half with Ballyboughal forcing extra time with a late free. The outstanding Darren Strong scored eight points in total but Emo looked to be on the way out before a wonderful late free from player-manager Paul Lawlor ensured a replay would be needed to separate the sides, a game Ballyboughal won on home ground seven days later. Read the full report from the drawn game right here.
4 – Kilcavan 2-12 O’Dempsey’s 3-9
Laois Shopping Centre JFC Semi-final
Kilcavan and O’Dempsey’s played out an unlikely series of classic games in the Laois JFC ‘A’ semi-final this year – with Kilcavan eventually progressing to the final after an extra-time replay win.
But the drawn game was one of the best of the year – with Kilcavan coming back from 13 points down to force a replay, the equaliser from Kilcavan veteran and Roscommon native Michael Tarpey.
5 – Ballylinan 4-10 Portarlington 3-8
Laois Shopping Centre SFC Semi-final
In fairness, the senior football championship threw up a number of entertaining games this year and this one was certainly up there.
It was a seven goal thriller, with five of those goals arriving in the opening half where Port took a 3-5 to 2-5 lead into half time. But two goals in a minute on the resumption of play ultimately won it for Ballylinan.
6 – Courtwood 0-19 Rosenallis 3-13
Laois Shopping Centre IFC Round 2
Rosenallis shocked everyone in 2016 by winning the IHC and the JFC but they damn near topped that in 2017.
After disposing of a fancied Timahoe team in Round 1, Paddy Dunne and Declan Conroy’s side sealed a semi final place following a stunning win over Courtwood in August.
7 – Portarlington 2-10 Stradbally Parish Gaels 1-13
Laois Shopping Centre U-21 ‘A’ FC Semi-final
What a game of football this was. It once again demonstrated how good this grade is and how sad it is that it has now ended to be replaced by U-19.
Portarlington looked like certain winners with fifteen minutes to play when Colm Murphy’s goal put them seven points clear.
However, back came the Gaels and led by the free taking exploits of Eoin Buggie, they drew level before taking the lead in the third minute of injury time.
But another two minutes of additional time were played and with the last kick, Colm Murphy ensured we would do it all over again.
8 – Emo 3-6 Portlaoise 1-12
Laois Shopping Centre IFC Final
Emo feature in the best games of the year on two occasions – and their semi-final win over Timahoe was also a fine contest.
But the ending to their drawn intermediate final against Portlaoise will live long in the memory. They looked to be dead and buried as the game entered injury time but David Gorman scrambled home a goal to put them ahead. Their supporters thought it was all over – and even invaded the pitch prematurely. But there was to be one last twist.
After a mighty shemozzle that led to even more injury time, Portlaoise earned a long-range free and Jack Brown showed nerves of steel to land the equaliser. You can read the report here.
9 – St Paul’s-The Rock 2-11 Ballyroan-Abbey 1-12
Midlands Park Hotel U-16 ‘A’ FC Final
St Paul’s-The Rock and Ballyroan-Abbey have been the two standout teams at juvenile level in Laois over the last number of years and they served up a thriller here.
The victors looked out of sight at half time as they led by eight points but Ballyroan-Abbey produced a stunning second half comeback which just fell short.
10 – Ballyroan-Abbey 3-7 Portlaoise 1-7
Midlands Park Hotel U-14 ‘A’ FC Final
After enduring Feile disappointment, Ballyroan-Abbey gained revenge over Portlaoise and claimed the U-14 title in September.
Lawson Obular’s two goals proved crucial on this occasion – the latter coming in the final minute to seal the win.
The LaoisToday 2017 Annual is now on sale in bookshops and newsagents around the county – this is where you can buy it