After a brief respite, Laois club championship action resumes again this evening with two main games down for decision.
Emo and Arles-Killeen meet in their Laois SFC Round 1 replay while Rathdowney-Errill and Clonad clash in the Qualifier section of the Laois IHC.
It’s a big night for all four – and we look ahead to both games here.
Laois SFC Round 1 Replay – Emo v Arles-Killeen
In O’Moore Park at 7.30pm
There’s always at least one Laois SFC Round 1 game that needs a replay and so it proved once again this year when Emo and Arles-Killeen couldn’t be separated in O’Moore Park last Sunday.
It’s the second year running that Arles-Killeen have drawn their opening championship outing and they’ll be hoping for a better outcome this year after they were beaten after extra time by Portarlington the second day out this time 12 months ago.
Back then we feared that as one of the older teams in the championship, Killeen could struggle with the three-day turnaround. They did eventually run out of legs but there are different circumstances this time. They’ll welcome back Donie Kingston, who was suspended for the opening round, and his return should be a big boost.
Goalkeeper Mick Leigh will be suspended following his straight red card in the opening minute of the drawn game but Emo will no doubt be wondering how they failed to win a game against a Killeen side without Donie Kingston and down to 14 men for the entire contest. In the end it was Emo that needed a late free from Darren Strong to level it.
The prize for the winners is a Round 2 meeting with Arles-Kilcruise while the losers will meet league champions O’Dempsey’s where a loss there would send them into the relegation playoffs.
Emo will need to show big improvement if they’re to have any chance but with Kingston to come back for Killeen, the smart money is on them.
Laois IHC Round 2 Qualifier – Rathdowney-Errill v Clonad
In Shanahoe at 7.30pm
It all looked so good for Clonad in their opening round game against Slieve Bloom when they led 0-12 to 0-6 at the break but they fell away in the second half, conceding 11 points in a row as Slieve Bloom built up momentum that Clonad just couldn’t halt.
In the end they lost by three points and the result has left them with a tough game against last year’s beaten finalists Rathdowney-Errill to avoid going into a relegation final.
Clonad have plenty of fine hurlers and both youth and experience on their side. They also have a handful of players involved with Colt Gaels and playing at the higher Senior ‘A’ grade.
Rathdowney-Errill lost a couple of players to their senior team but they still have considerable depth and only narrowly lost to Borris-Kilcotton in their opening game.
It should be tight but Rathdowney-Errill might just have about enough.