The latest game in the Laois SFC takes place tonight when league champions O’Dempsey’s take on last year’s beaten finalists Ballylinan.
Laois SFC – Ballylinan v O’Dempsey’s
In O’Moore Park at 7.45pm
While Portlaoise have been the dominant force in Laois since 2007, a number of clubs have had the honour of lining out on county final day.
Last year, Ballylinan became the latest club to make it all the way to the big day, their first final appearance since 1987. You have to go all the way back to 1983 for O’Dempsey’s last final outing – and to their credit they have been one of the county’s more consistent teams over the last decade or so, even when you take in their relegation from senior in 2015.
Back to back league titles is a considerable achievement and they had the misfortune of drawing Portlaoise twice in last year’s championship, eventually being knocked out in the quarter-final.
They do have a habit of flattering to deceive at times, and their loss to Graiguecullen in Round 1 was an example of that. They bounced back in style against Arles-Killeen the last day, winning by 14 points and posting an impressive tally of 4-14.
They are a well-balanced side with scoring forwards in Michael, Eoin and Matthew Finlay, Mark Barry and Dan McCormack at full-forward is one of the most exciting players in the championship and definitely one of the most effective newcomers.
Ballylinan have struggled all year to replicate the form that saw them reach last year’s final. While they did enough to beat Crettyard in Round 1, they were blown off the pitch by Killeshin in Round 2, that game over by half time. They improved a bit after the break that day but not enough to undo the damage that had been done in the opening half.
Shane Nerney or Peter O’Leary will be detailed to track Gary Walsh you’d imagine and if his influence can be curbed, O’Dempsey’s would appear to be the stronger side.
Laois JFC Round 3
Camross v The Heath in Portarlington at 7pm
Ballyroan-Abbey v The Harps in Timahoe at 7pm
Graiguecullen v Killeshin in Crettyard at 7.45pm
There are three games down for decision in Round 3 of the Laois JFC this evening.
Annanough, Kilcavan, Park-Ratheniska, Portlaoise and O’Dempsey’s are already through to the quarter-finals with tonight’s winners joining them.
Those quarter-finals will be played this coming Thursday as the competition properly gets down to business. All six of this evening’s teams have lost games so far – and in the case of The Heath, Ballyroan-Abbey, Graiguecullen and Killeshin they’ve lost players to their club’s senior teams since they started the season.
Graiguecullen should have enough for Killeshin in their game while Ballyroan-Abbey will possibly be too strong for a Harps outfit without a game since their opening round loss to Annanough four weeks ago.
Camross were well beaten by Park-Ratheniska in Round 2 and an experienced Heath side might be better placed to advance.
Predictions: Graiguecullen, Ballyroan-Abbey and The Heath