In July of this year, the legendary Brian ‘Beano’ McDonald returned to the field and was met with high praise.
Still doing what he does best, he saved the game for his club Arles Kileen.
He was a fan’s favourite from the time he was about 16, he made his Laois senior debut when he was still minor, he was a star of the 2003 Leinster-winning team and was one of the best forwards the county ever produced.
Brian ‘Beano’ McDonald, now aged 38, was a bit of a magician on the field, a household name across the country who represented club, county, province and country.
At club level he played in three county finals with Arles-Killeen but had drifted away as a starter on the senior team in recent years, instead serving as a selector.
Last night he made his return – after having a hip operation just before Christmas – when he came off the bench at half-time of their final round Division 1B league game against neighbours Arles-Kilcruise.
And he did it style too, scoring 1-1 – the goal with the last kick of the game rescuing a draw for Killeen.
“Left foot into the top corner from about 18 yards out – as good as I have ever seen him score,” said one long-time observer.
Arles-Kilcruise were already assured of promotion and a league final place while Killeen were safe from relegation and out of the reckoning for one of the top two spots.
But it was still a typical derby between two of Laois’s biggest rivals, one that saw Kevin Meaney and Donie Brennan given straight red cards in the opening half.
Arles-Killeen led 0-7 to 1-2 at the break and although two second-half goals put Kilcruise, Beano’s brilliant late goal rescued a draw.
It finished Killeen 1-10 Kilcruise 2-7.
Kilcruise now have a final to look forward to against Ballyroan-Abbey next week while Killeen have a couple of weeks off before they Emo in the opening round of the championship. Kilcruise’s opening round is against Stradbally.