Home Sport GAA Hurling team of the week as semi-finals and finals come into view

Hurling team of the week as semi-finals and finals come into view

Brought to you in association with EQ Strength and Conditioning

The weekend just gone saw the hurling championship interests of a lot of clubs come to an end.

There were two senior quarter-finals, two senior ‘A’ quarter-finals, the senior ‘A’ relegation final and semi-finals in intermediate and junior all decided.

All told, ten teams finished their hurling seasons on Saturday or Sunday. There’s now only two weekends of adult hurling action left, only eight games in total, six of which will be decided on the weekend after next.

It meant we had another tough job picking our Team of the Week.

Unsurprisingly given their big wins, Rathdowney-Errill and Borris-Kilcotton lead the way with four representatives each on our chosen 15. They are two of the seven clubs represented with Shanahoe and Portlaoise with two each and Slieve Bloom, Mountmellick and Rosenallis all with one each.

We have also chosen five subs – players who impressed when coming on – with Castletown, Clough-Ballacolla, Rosenallis, Rathdowney-Errill and Shanahoe all having players included.

1 – Steven Kelly (Rosenallis)

There was a couple of good goal-keeping performances over the weekend with Darragh Hiney impressive for Shanahoe and Enda Rowland (Abbeyleix) and Danny Hanlon (Clough-Ballacolla) doing well on teams under big pressure. But Kelly is a fine young player with good puckouts and an ability to score long-range frees

2 – Jimmy Corrigan (Rathdowney-Errill)

Rathdowney-Errill are a very well-balanced team and Corrigan is captaining the side from corner-back. Put in a very solid showing in their big win over Abbeyleix. Cool in possession and cleared a lot of ball.

3 – Chris Lynch (Portlaoise)

The Portlaoise full-back line of Cian Houlihan, Chris Lynch and Frank Flanagan all did well but Lynch was probably the pick of the three, and he was very good in the second half when Portlaoise were just hanging on against Shanahoe Gaels.

4 – Cillian McEvoy (Shanahoe Gaels)

McEvoy started the game at midfield for Shanahoe Gaels but moved back to the full-back line at half-time and helped shore up a defence that was under pressure in the opening 30 minutes. A fine young player.

5 – Matthew Whelan (Borris-Kilcotton)

Matthew Whelan has sung the praise of goal hero Seán Downey
Will Matthew Whelan

Whelan moved out of centre-back for Borris-Kilcotton but he was excellent on the wing in the opening half of their win over Clough-Ballacolla and played a captain’s part from start to finish.

6 – Ian Fennelly (Mountmellick)

The Mountmellick hurlers have lads from Kilcavan and Emo in their ranks and one of those was their stand out player in their win on Sunday. Centre back Ian Fennelly mopped up everthing that came his way against The Harps and when Mountmellick struggled in the early part of the game, he helped keep them in it.

7 – Stephen Finan (Borris-Kilcotton)

Finan is a player that could get the attention of new Laois hurling manager Eddie Brennan and he did his prospects no harm with a good display marking Willie Hyland and, at times, Stephen Maher. Also popped up with a point from play in the first half.

8 – Paddy Whelan (Borris-Kilcotton)

Whelan wore Number 12 but played midfield. Got through a lot of work, scored a point from play and went about his business in an efficient and understated way.

9 – Shane Dollard (Rathdowney-Errill)

Dollard is having a great season for Rathdowney-Errill and he continued that with another fine display in midfield on Sunday. Works hard, offers a physical presence and a scoring option too. Will be key to their chances going forward.

10 – Conor Kilbane (Borris-Kilcotton)

Kilbane had an excellent game for Borris-Kilcotton against Clough-Ballacolla, finishing with 1-2 from play, the goal just after half time a brilliant finish and one that entirely killed the game as a contest.

11 – Rhian Bergin (Shanahoe Gaels)

Bergin’s striking from frees and from play was very good and he hit ten points as Shanahoe almost shocked Portlaoise. Started corner-forward but moved out the field in the second half and caused The Town plenty of problems.

12 – Ciaran Conroy (Slieve Bloom)

The three Conroy brothers were in fine form again for Slieve Bloom in their win over Clough-Ballacolla but the youngest of them was the most impressive. Ciaran finished the game with 1-8 and he looks like a fine prospect at just 18.

13 – Keith Murphy (Portlaoise)

Murphy was on fire in the opening half of Portlaoise’s one-point win over Shanahoe Gaels in the SHC ‘A’ in Mountrath on Saturday. Had four shots from play in the first 30 minutes and hit four points. Added a fifth in the second half and was also fouled for two frees that Aaron Bergin converted.

14 – Mark Kavanagh (Rathdowney-Errill)

Mark Kavanagh was in top form for Rathdowney-Errill

Rathdowney-Errill have a selection of quality forwards and Kavanagh was the one that led the way on Sunday. Hit 2-8 in total, 2-6 of that in the first half when he scored 1-2 from play, a goal from a penalty, two points from frees, a sideline cut and a ’65. In top form at the moment.

15 – Ray Bowe (Rathdowney-Errill)

PJ Scully (Borris-Kilcotton), Aaron Bergin (Portlaoise), Daniel Delaney (Camross) and Daire Quinlan (Borris-Kilcotton) were all in the mix for a forward place on this week’s selection but on an incredibly competitive week, Ray Bowe from Rathdowney-Errill gets the nod. On his first championship start of the year, he hit 1-5 from play and caused all sorts of problems for an under-siege Abbeyleix defence.

Subs of the Week

Daire McWey (Shanahoe Gaels)

Came on early in the second half for Shanahoe Gaels and was quite involved, scoring a point that put Shanahoe into the lead for the first time.

Daithi Poynton (Rathdowney-Errill)

Started some of Rathdowney-Errill’s earlier games but lost his place on this occasion to the returning Ross King. Came off the bench to hit two points late on.

Simon Smith (Rosenallis)

Came on as a sub late in the first half of Rosenallis’s big win over Colt Gaels and impressed with a 1-1 tally after the break.

Brian Corby (Clough-Ballacolla)

Came on as a first-half sub for Stephen Bergin, who had been struggling to be fit to make the game. Corby did his best and ran at the Borris-Kilcotton defence on a couple of occasions in the second half.

Seamus Lyons (Castletown)

Seamus Lyons has a handful of senior hurling medals with Castletown but he’s playing his part now in trying to help the club to junior honours. Came off the bench against Rathdowney-Errill in Saturday’s semi-final and scored four points. Now pushing for a starting spot in the final against Mountmellick

SEE ALSO – Laois GAA on the hunt for a new Games Promotion Officer after long-serving coach steps away

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