Ireland’s premier soccer competition got underway in University of Limerick this afternoon with Laois representation on four of the 32 teams taking part.
The Midlands, Kilkenny, Carlow and North Tipperary sides all have players from Laois on their squads as they got their respective campaigns underway.
11 players from Laois are taking part and five of those are with the Carlow league who enjoyed a brilliant victory against Donegal to sit top of Group 7 this evening.
Killeshin trio Ciaran Fitzgerald, James Ingram and Michael Gaffney are all part of the squad alongside Crettyard United’s Peter Grogan.
New Oak Boys midfielder Jack Feehan scored twice in the first half to set them on their way while Burrin Celtic’s Shane Duffy put the icing on the cake in the second half to make it 3-0.
Carlow face games against Limerick Desmond and Sligo-Leitrim tomorrow where wins will see them progress to the Cup quarter final on Thursday.
Durrow Lions duo Bobby Murphy and Ciaran Flynn started at centre back for the Kilkenny League in their dramatic encounter with Drogheda this evening.
Things were looking bleak for the two lads, who also play hurling and football with The Harps, as their side trailed 3-0 at half time Tadhg Dunne, Altay Guneyer and Sean O’Halloran all scored for Drogheda.
But this Kilkenny side are made of stern stuff and they pulled off a remarkable second half comeback.
Anthony Ireland-Wall and Sean Hunt cut the deficit to one before Freebooters AFC ace Ireland-Wall grabbed his second goal just before the full time whistle to snatch a 3-3 draw.
Like Carlow, if Kilkenny can defeat Athlone and reigning champions the DDSL tomorrow, they too will qualify for the cup quarter final.
However, neither the Midlands or North Tipperary enjoyed good starts to the competition.
Borris-In-Ossory’s Jer Quinlan and Kyle’s Jack Fitzpatrick, who play for BT Harps, were part of the North Tipperary squad that suffered a crushing 11-0 loss to Galway this afternoon.
Quinlan is captaining the team and he will hope his side can recover with games against South Belfast and Inishowen to come tomorrow.
Meanwhile, after a promising start, the Midlands also lost out in their opening game against Mayo.
Three Emo Celtic players are involved in this team, Ryan Little, Eoghan Slattery and David Costello, and the latter of these opened the scoring after 25 minutes.
Costello jinked in along the endline and unleashed a shot from a very narrow angle which somehow found the net.
The Midlands held that 1-0 lead until half time but Mayo goals from Josh McGabhan, Dylan Gallagher and Adam Nugent turned the game on its head and saw Mayo win 3-1.
The Midlands face games against NECSL and Dundalk tomorrow and the outcome of those games will determine whether they end up in the cup, shield, plate or bowl on Thursday.