The second most important competition in club football in Laois gets underway this week as the intermediate championship begins.
There are four games to look forward to this week – two on Saturday and another two on Sunday.
Mountmellick Gaels are the side who were relegated from senior last year and they will begin as favourites but it is likely to be wide open again.
The likes of Courtwood, Timahoe and Rosenallis will all fancy their chances too.
While there is also the beaten finalists from 2017, Portlaoise’s second team, who are likely to be very strong once more.
But ahead of the start of the competition, and just like we did with the hurling last week, we’ve taken a look at one promising young star from each team who should make a real impression in the championship.
Check them out below:
BARROWHOUSE – Fergal Murphy
Barrowhouse have lost Eric Mackey this year and will be in need of extra firepower to account for his departure.
Emmett Malone has returned from injury but one young man who could also help on that scale is Fergal Murphy. Has been hampered with injury this year but if he returns to fitness, he is capable of scoring if given the chance.
COURTWOOD – Seán O’Flynn
Full back on the Laois minor and U-17 football teams last year, Seán O’Flynn is a young man with a very bright future ahead of him.
Lined out at wing back for the Laois U-20s this year and then played wing forward Courtwood in their Division 2 success.
Along with the likes of Matthew Byron, Niall Dunne, Cian Doyle and Jake Doyle, he adds a new dimension to Courtwood this year.
MOUNTMELLICK GAELS – Jason Caffrey
Mountmellick Gaels have dropped into this championship from Senior and will be favourites to get out.
They have assembled a side containing a number of players who came through together over the last number of years like Darren Fitzpatrick, Mark Dowling and Laurence Kenny.
But one of their younger lights is Jason Caffrey – a classy corner forward with an eye for goal.
PORTLAOISE – Michael Dowling
Portlaoise had nine players on the Laois minor team last year and a number of them are now making the transition to adult football.
One of those is tigerish corner back Michael Dowling. He played a number of senior league games for Portlaoise and may well end up there in the end.
But for now he will prove a valuable asset to the intermediate team.
ROSENALLIS – Eoin Dunne
Eoin Dunne’s rise has been nothing short of meteoric. The young Rosenallis man failed to make the minor team last year but made a big impact at U-20 level this term.
Lining out at midfield, he excelled and will hope to transfer that form to his club.
ST JOSEPH’S – Jack Lacey
St Joseph’s are operating at this level after defeating Kilcavan in the junior final last year.
They have a nice blend of youth an experience at this level and one player who is set to catch the eye is wing back Jack Lacey.
He has represented the club at senior level too, coming on it the league final defeat against O’Dempsey’s, and may well end up at that level again.
THE ROCK – Anavil Storey
The Rock reached the quarter final last year and will be hoping to go one step further after suffering defeat to Portlaoise following a replay.
One player certainly worth keeping an eye out for is Anavil Storey.
The pacey player can operate in defence or attack and his legs will be a big part of how The Rock will play this year.
TIMAHOE – James O’Connor
Timahoe are embarking on their fifth Intermediate championship campaign in a row and will once again be one of the favorites to win it.
Have added in some more young players this year in the form of Colum Dunne and Graham Devitt but James O’Connor, younger brother of Laois senior star Damien, will be one of the main men.
He played very well for the Laois U-20s this year too.