The Portlaoise footballers are odds on favourites to win another Laois SFC title on Sunday week when they take on O’Dempsey’s – but it’s understood they have been handed a considerable boost with the news that star forward Brian ‘Bruno’ McCormack is free to play after having his suspension lifted.
McCormack was given a straight red card in the second half of Portlaoise’s semi-final win over St Joseph’s and was subsequently given a one-match ban.
But Portlaoise officials sought a hearing for McCormack which was heard late last night.
And LaoisToday understands that the 13-time championship winner was successful in his appeal meaning he’ll be free to line out next Sunday. It’s not known on what grounds his appeal was successful as yet.
McCormack, who is 38 this year, is the most decorated club player in Laois – with 13 Laois SFC medals as well as a collection of championships at minor, U-21 and at juvenile level.
He was part of all nine-in-row winning sides as well as last year when they regained the title and in 1999, 2002 and 2004.
He also has Leinster club medals froms 2004 and 2010 and played in losing finals in Laois in 2000, 2005 and 2016.
He was given a straight red card along with St Joseph’s Enda Butler during the 4-15 to 1-9 semi-final win when replacement referee Maurice Deegan came to the decision after consulting with both linesmen and the two umpires at that end of the field.
He had earlier scored three points from play as he continues to be a major influence on this Portlaoise team.
He was also very impressive in their earlier games, in particular against Graiguecullen in Round 2.
This is the second successive year that a player set off in a SFC semi final has had his suspension overturned for the final.
Last year, Ballylinan corner back Kevin Byrne was dismissed in the dying embers of the win against Portarlington but later won an appeal.
The Laois SFC final takes place next Sunday, October 14, in O’Moore Park when Portlaoise appear in their 12th consecutive final.
O’Dempsey’s will be making their first appearance since 1983 and haven’t won the title since 1980.
Portlaoise are 1/10 favourites to win the game with O’Dempsey’s at 13/2 and the draw at 14/1.