The football championship has resumed and you know what that means – it is our first installment of the Team of The Week for 2018.
We had action in all grades of the club football championship last week and we did our very best to bring you reports on all of the games.
Portarlington and Portlaoise lead the way with two players each on the first selection of the year.
And a grand total of 13 teams are represented below:
1 – Matthew Byron (Courtwood)
The Byrons of Courtwood are akin to the Schmeichels of Denmark.
Matthew pulled off three phenomenal saves and could do little to stop the only goal to enter his net after it hit off the shin of one of his own players in the narrow win over Mountmellick Gaels.
Byron also made smart Brody-like runs out the field but knew when the retreat back to his own net.
2 – Alex Mohan (Portarlington)
The teenage defender was tasked with marking one of Laois’s most prolific forwards on his championship debut.
Mohan was asked to shackle Ballyroan’s MJ Tierney and he did extremely well. He held Tierney to just a point from play and really limited his influence on the game.
3 – Mark Timmons (Graiguecullen)
What can you say about this man? He is simply incredible.
O’Dempsey’s teenager Dan McCormack is seen as one of the up and coming prospects and Timmons marshalled him excellently. He held him scoreless and got up the field to score three points from play himself.
4 – James O’Connor (Timahoe)
Picked out as our young Timahoe player to watch out for, Jimmy didn’t disappoint.
In a game of low scoring, O’Connor tenacious tackling was key as Timahoe scored a vital one point win over St Joseph’s.
5 – Colin Slevin (Portarlington)
Another young Portarlington defender who sparkled on his debut.
Slevin covered every blade of grass in O’Moore Park until his first championship appearance was brought to a premature end with a nasty looking shoulder injury.
We wish him all a speedy recovery and hope to see him back in maroon very soon.
6 – Chris Finn (Portlaoise)
Played for most of the win over Ballyfin Gaels at wing back but looks very comfortable anywhere along the half back line.
Injury hampered his first season with Laois and limited him to O’Byrne Cup appearances only but he looks like the type of defender who could play at that level. Very impressive here also.
7 – Nigel Murphy (Emo)
Emo’s first game back in the senior ranks will be one they will probably look back on with regret.
They played for almost the entirety of the game with one player more but were actually lucky to snatch a draw against Arles-Killeen with the last kick.
But one player who stood out for them was Nigel Murphy. He won a serious amount of kick-outs and charged forward at will. He was also there to make a lot of crucial interceptions.
8 – Mark McDermott (Killeshin)
It is very rare that a substitute will make our Team of The Week selection but such was the performance of Mark McDermott that we simply could not leave him out.
He entered the fray at half time with Killeshin trailing Clonaslee Gaels by a point and also a man down following Adam Deering’s dismissal.
But McDermott, who was part of the Laois minor team who reached the Leinster final in 2016, completely changed the game in Killeshin’s favour. He won a string of kick-outs, made a host of blocks and kicked a brilliant point. He also set up the match winning score for Eoin Lowry.
9 – Eoin Dunne (Rosenallis)
The meteoric rise of the career of Rosenallis midfielder Eoin Dunne shows no signs of slowing down.
His club scored a big round ! win over Portlaoise in the IFC on Sunday and the towering midfielder was central to that.
He showed great leadership on the field and stepped up when needed scoring five points, four from play.
10 – Donie Brennan (Arles-Killeen)
Donie Brennan rolled back the years as Arles-Killeen, minus Donie Kingston and with 14-men for 59 minutes, claimed a draw against Emo.
In the absence of Donie Kingston, Brennan and others needed to step up in order to account for the shortfall on the scoring front.
And he certainly did with five brilliant points from play.
11 – Michael Keogh (St Joseph’s)
St Joseph’s looked to put their league final disappointment behind them when they faced The Heath on Saturday evening.
And that is exactly what they did as they won comfortably enough in the end – thanks in no small part to the exploits of Michael Keogh.
He scored 1-4 from play as the Kellyville men triumphed by six points.
12 – David Conway (Arles-Kilcruise)
Injury curtailed Conway’s season with Laois this year but he was right back into form on Wednesday night.
Operating on the half forward line, Conway chipped in with with points from play and also got back to make numerous blocks and tackles in his own defence – a truly complete performance as Kilcruise won by a point.
13 – Paul Cahillane (Portlaoise)
Like Conway mentioned before him, Paul Cahillane has endured a dreadful year of injury that resulted in him not playing at all for Laois.
But he is flying now and he helped Portlaoise score a comfortable win over Ballyfin Gaels with nine points coming from varying angles and distances.
14 – Gary Walsh (Ballylinan)
Gary Walsh was the highest scoring footballer in the country by the end of the National Football League but he barely featured for Laois in the championship.
However, he put all of that behind him to score 1-7 of Ballylinan’s 1-12 in their two point win over Crettyard Gaels on Thursday evening.
Walsh’s goal, coming late in the second half, was a real thing of beauty.
15 – Jason Maher (Kilcavan)
Any player who scores four goals in a championship match simply must make the team of the week list.
Jason Maher was the star of the show for Kilcavan in their win over The Heath. He got his first goal after three minutes when he was set up by Ollie Dixon and he got two more in the opening six minutes of the second half, one from the penalty spot after Ronan Gorry was fouled.
And Maher got a fourth goal with time almost up to help seal a nine-point win and a fine individual display.
SEE ALSO – All of Sunday’s Laois GAA results