Despite it being a quite weekend in terms of the volume of fixtures, there is still some big games on and here are the ones to look out for.
Laois v Westmeath – 3pm, O’Moore Park
Joe McDonagh Cup Round 1
The Laois hurlers will embark on new territory when they compete in the new Joe McDonagh Cup, aiming to secure a place in the All-Ireland series and a final in Croke Park. They are currently the favourites to achieve that feat and a winning start against Westmeath would give Eamonn Kelly’s side a great start. Westmeath won’t be easy opponents, finishing to of the NHL Division 2 table only to lose out to Carlow in the final and thus losing promotion to Division 1B.
Portlaoise AFC v Maynooth University – 4pm, Rossleighan Park
LSL Lummy O’Reilly Cup Semi Final
Portlaoise AFC have hit top form just in time for the for this crucial cup clash with Maynooth on Saturday. They have won seven of their last ten league games, drawing two and losing one. This year against Maynooth they lost their first game 2-1 while they then beat them at home 2-0. It will be a tight game and the addition to a cup semi final tag means that it should be a great game.
Midlands Basketball Semi Finals and Finals – Semi Finals on Friday and Saturday with Finals on Sunday from 10am
There is a big weekend of basketball taking place in St Mary’s Hall, beginning on Friday night with the semi finals. Laois are represented by the Portlaoise Panthers, who have several teams competing, Heywood, Clonaslee, and Portarlington Kestrels. Come Sunday, those clubs will be hoping their teams have made the finals of the four titles up for grabs.
Laois v Longford – 2pm, O’Moore Park
Leinster Minor Football Championship Round 1
Laois minors begin their campaign against Longford this weekend, and it will be the first time that they play in the newly formed U-17 age level. The team is full of talented players and it remains to be seen how good this team can be. This year’s championship has been restructured and Laois are in a group alongside four other teams. After Longford, they will play Wexford, Carlow and Kildare with the top two advancing to the semi-finals. A win this weekend would set them up very nicely to make a run for the semi-finals.
Laois LGFA Senior Championship Round 1
Sarsfield v Park-Ratheniska 12pm in Mountmellick GAA
Timahoe Ladies v St Brigid’s 12pm in Timahoe GAA
This weekend will see the opening two games of the Laois Ladies Senior Club Championship and both ties will be very interesting. Sarsfield have dominated the club seen for half a decade now and this year they will be heading for six-in-a-row. Park-Ratheniska are at the opposite end of the scale, having just come up from the Intermediate championship but they have plenty of talented players that can cause damage to any team, and youth is very much something they have in abundance. Timahoe have fallen from their pedestal somewhat, losing so many of their experienced players has pegged them back in terms of competing with the likes of Sarsfield but they still have quality, while Brigid’s will be hoping to make amends for missing out on the semis last year by beating the team that pipped them to the post.