Laois 0-17 Westmeath 0-12
O’Byrne Cup Final 2005
With Laois set to face off against Westmeath in the second leg of their O’Byrne Cup group stage tie, we take a trip down memory lane and recall the 2005 O’Byrne Cup Final in which Micko’s Laois squared off against Paidi O’Sé’s Lakesmen.
Paidi O’Sé lead Westmeath to their first ever Leinster title, following an epic Leinster final and replay, in which only two points separated the sides.
Laois had captured their first title in 57 years in 2003 so both counties were at an incredible high when they met in the 2005 O’Byrne Cup final. Over 10,000 supporters packed into Cusack Park in Mullingar on the last Sunday in January.
Laois were without some of their key players as Portlaoise were set to compete in the All-Ireland semi-final against Crossmaglen and Laois’s All-Stars which included Fergal Byron, Joe Higgins and Tom Kelly as well as Padraig Clancy who was called up as a replacement on the tour.
On the day, up and coming stalwarts Niall Donoher and Peter O’Leary made their debuts and performed well in an inexperienced defence.
Ross Munnelly, Stephen Kelly and Donie Brennan led the scoring for Laois on the day grabbing three points each, as Chris Conway, Gary Kavanagh, Shane Cooke, Mark Dunne and Noel Garvan all registered scores too.
Laois ran out five-point victors in the end, and claimed their first O’Byrne Cup title since 1994. Laois supporters were left eagerly awaiting glory later in the year and a relatively decent display in the league left the fans feeling positive.
They lost to a Dublin side full of future All-Ireland winners in the Leinster Final following wins over Offaly and Kildare. They then managed to overcome Derry in the qualifiers but lost out against a strong Armagh team in the quarter final.
Alf Harvey’s photos from that day will bring memories back to a very different time in Laois football.
LAOIS: Michael Nolan; Niall Donoher, Colm Begley, Tom McDonald; Kieran Kelly, Padraig McMahon, Peter O’Leary; Mark Dunne (0-2), Noel Garvan (0-1); Ross Munnelly (0-3), Chris Conway (0-2), Gary Kavanagh (0-2); Shane Cooke (0-1), Stephen Kelly (0-3), Donie Brennan (0-3). Subs used: Paul Lawlor, David Murphy.