It was all about the cup this weekend for the Laois soccer clubs.
The Combined Counties Cup got underway today with a number of Laois teams in action.
There was a local derby in the LFA Junior Shield where Abbeyleix Athletic got the better of Mountmellick Celtic in a thrilling penalty shoot-out.
Check out the reports we have and all the results below:
John Farrell CCFL Cup 1st Round
Banagher United 2 Stradbally Town 4
Stradbally travelled to Banagher this morning for the first round of the Counties Cup and in the end won out comfortably in what was a keenly contested contest – where player manager Derek Beale was their hero with all four goals.
The opening exchanges were well contested but Stradbally took the lead after 15 minutes as Beale took advantage of a poor kick out to send the ball straight back over the home keeper with a first time finish.
Banagher had a purple patch themselves and deservedly equalised. A stray pass was picked up by the Banagher number 8 and he finished neatly into the top corner. The first half played out evenly enough after that.
Banagher started the second half stronger against very nearly had their second goal but for a great save from Wayne Comerford.
Stradbally regained the lead shortly afterwards when Derek Beale capitalised on a loose ball to drill home from the left hand side of the box.
Beale got his hat-trick goal chipping the Banagher keeper, after running in behind the defence on to a great delivery from Conor Brady.
Shortly after that Stradbally had another goal, the energetic Benny Lawlor, who was a thorn in the Banagher sides defence all day, was brought down in the box. Beale dispatched the penalty for his and Stradbally’s fourth goal of the game.
Banagher got a late consolation goal but the tie was over at that stage.
An overall good team performance on the day from Stradbally who had stand out performances from Benny Lawlor, John Hayden and Derek Beale.
Team: Wayne Comerford, Colin Beale, Billy Murphy, Ray Mullally, John Hayden, Jimmy Langton, Damien Murphy, Conor Delaney, Podgie Fitzpatrick, Derek Beale, Benny Lawlor. Subs: Conor Brady, John Clancy, Jake Byrne, Aidan Hanrahan, Alan Delaney.
Towerhill Rovers 2 Walsh Island Shamrocks 0
Portlaoise outfit Towerhill Rovers are also through to the second round of the Cup following a great win over Walsh Island Shamrocks.
The sides played out a scoreless first half but an early header from striker Emeka gave Towerhill the lead in the second half.
Walsh Island pushed for the equaliser but the game was settled in spectacular style by midfielder Paul Sutton.
Sub Sean Mulhall chased down the Walsh Island keeper who cleared it straight to Sutton on half way and he sent the ball back in over the keepers head to win it.
TEAM: Darragh Phelan, James Furlong, Kevin Sheehan, Sean Egan, Aidan McGovern, Robbie Ging, Paul Sutton, David Leonard, Darlington Overseth, Nathan Carpenter, Emeka. Subs: Sean Mulhall, Hayden Delaney, Eoin Farrell
Rosenallis 3 Highfield United 0
Apart from a strong start from Highfield, Rosenallis were on top for most of this game, and would have won by a much wider margin of it wasn’t for the Highfield keeper who came out in top in three one on ones, and also saved a penalty in the second half.
Rosenallis started slow and Highfield created a few half chances in the first ten minutes, before Rosenallis slowly took over.
The first clear chance of the game falling to Donagh Calally when he was put through by Niall Doolan, but the keeper spread himself well to save.
The keeper was again called upon to save from a Calally shot after 20 minutes but the rebound was driven home by Damien Gorman.
A mix up then in the Highfield defence after 30 minutes handed the ball to Calally in the box and he could make no mistake from 10 yards out – driving a low hard shot into the bottom corner.
The second half started frantic with Rosenallis being awarded a penalty after 60 seconds, but the keeper brilliantly saved from Niall Doolan, before getting straight back up to save the follow up.
Rosenallis continued to dominate possession for the remainder of the game and finally put the game to bed after 70 minutes when a great cross from Brian Fitzpatrick was turned in by Mark Dunne.
Highfield pushed hard for a goal towards the end but the Rosenallis defence stood firm to close out the game with a clean sheet.
TEAM: Paul Friel, Cian Thompson, Jack Friel, Darren McEvoy, Adam MacDermot, Marcus Redmond, Damien Gorman, Mark Dunne, Brian Fitzpatrick, Niall Doolan, Donnagh Calally. Subs: used: Paddy Dunne, Mick McEvoy
Gallen United 2 Clonaslee United 4
Clonaslee United continued their pursuit of Highfield at the top of the table with a fine win away to Gallen this morning.
They fell behind to an early goal after five mins but recovered well to score in the tenth minute through Sean Dunne to level the scores.
Paddy Hyland finished well after 15 minutes to put Clonaslee United to 2-1 up. After 20 mins Gallen made it two all. Clonaslee had the better chances to take the lead again but the score remained level at half time.
Clonaslee played against a strong wind in the second half but really had the better chances with Bob Downey and Michael Hyland taking control in midfield.
The third goal finally came after 60 minutes when PJ Fitzpatrick spotted the run of John Rigney by playing the ball over the defence with Rigney then finding the unmarked Ger Reilly who kept his composer to score.
Within three minutes of that, Clonaslee scored their fourth goal.
Gallen cleared a corner but the ball hoped up to PJ Fitzpatrick who hit an unstoppable volley that no keeper would save from 30 yards.
Clonaslee had chances to increase their lead further but comfortably seen out the game.
TEAM: Seamus Rosney, Jack Owens, John Rigney, Bob Downey, PJ Fitzpatrick, Ger Reilly, Niall Hogan, Michael Hyland, Paddy Hyland, Sean Dunne, Diarmuid Conroy Subs: Paddy Whyte for Niall Hogan 70 min, Mark Doherty for Sean Dunne 75 min, William Murray for Bob Downey 75 min, Shane McGovern for Dermuid Conroy 80 min
FAI Youth Cup 2nd Round
Willow Park 7 Portlaoise 1
Under 17 Premier Division
St Francis 2, Willow Park 1;
Abbeyleix Ath 5 Emo Celtic 2
LFA Junior Shield 3rd Round
Mountmellick Celtic 1 (3), Abbeyleix Ath 1 (4) pens aet;
John Farrell CCFL Cup 1st Round
Camlin Utd 6 Castlepollard Celtic 3 aet;
Moydow FC 3 Dynamoe Rooskey 5;
UCL Harps 1 Ballymahon 3;
Moate Celtic 3 Coolraine 2;
FC Killoe 5 St Cormacs Ath 4;
Maryborough FC 2 Geashill Utd 3;
BBC Utd 4 Clonown Rovers 0;
Riverside FC 0 St Aengus 1;
Banagher Utd 2 Stradbally Town 4;
Rosenallis 3 Highfield Utd 0;
Towerhill Rovers 2 Walsh Island Shamrocks 0;
Mullingar Ath 5, Mountmellick Utd 1;
Ballinahown 3, Tullamore Town 0;
Clara Town 3, Monksland Utd 3;
Gallen Utd 2, Clonaslee Utd 4;
Gentex FC 4, O’Moore FC 1;
Clara Town 1, Rosenallis 0;