The Laois U-15 football team will play in the semi-finals of a prestigious national competition this afternoon in Portlaoise.
Laois will play Cork in the LOETB Centre of Excellence in the Adam Mangan Cup and Shield, a highly regarded competition that features some of the top teams in the country.
This year saw a change in the format from other years.
Previously, the competition was ran in a blitz-like format whereas this year a group stage was introduced.
Laois were pitted against Cavan, Offaly and Galway in Group 1. Laois finished top of their group having won all three games well.
They defeated both Offaly and Cavan in Portlaoise before making an away trip to Galway and winning there too.
Manager Mark Bates, originally from the Thomas Davis GAA club in Dublin, who’s father is from Clonaslee, talked of their group performances.
He said: “We won all our games well with good performances improving each week in training and then executing the skills we have been working on in the games. They are are great bunch of players with fantastic attitudes.
“We have been in the Gym learning function movement since October which gave them a very good grounding in Functional Movement/Strength & Conditioning education in terms of what exercises to be doing, what level of exercise and most importantly the techniques.
“Peter Hally, Jason Coffey and Donie Brennan (who are full-time coaches with Laois GAA) had an excellent schedule laid out for when we took the team over last October with this regard.”
Alan Abbey (Stradbally), Paddy Travers, originally from Donegal but now located in Portlaoise, and Jon Fitzparick, also from the Thomas Davis club, are selectors with the team.
Bates was also talking of what his side’s main aims were for the year.
He said: “The great thing about this year has been the inclusion of players across several clubs in Laois, 16 in total presently.
“Our squad started off at 33 and we recently took in 10 more guys that the management team have noticed in games to show potential to play for Laois in the years to come.”
Both games throw in at 12.30pm and will be played at the LOETB Centre of Excellence. The Cup game is on Pitch 1 with the Shield game on Pitch 2.
LAOIS U-15 PANEL: Aaron Dorgan (Graiguecullen), Conor Harte (Graiguecullen), Jack Byrne (Graiguecullen), Sean McGrath (Graiguecullen), Mikee Horohan (Graiguecullen), Scott Roycroft (Graiguecullen), Jamie Murphy (Graiguecullen), John O Se (Graiguecullen), Sean Brennan (St Josephs), Cormac Murphy (St Josephs), Arthur Dunne (St Josephs), Cale Brennan (St Josephs), Dylan Keyes (The Heath), Jack Ahern (The Heath), Darragh Lewis (The Heath), Kieran O’Donnell (Portlaoise), Richard Whelan (Portlaoise), Barry Fitzpatrick (Portlaoise), Lee Smith (Portlaoise), Colin McEvoy (Portlaoise), Jack Gorman (Mountmellick), Cian Rafter (Mountmellick), Cathal Lee (Clonaslee), Ben McMahon (O’Dempsey’s), Ben O’Dea (Ballyroan-Abbey), Darragh Slevin (Portarlington), Cian Nolan (Park-Ratheniska), Liam Kehoe (Park-Ratheniska), Ryan Quinlan (Park-Ratheniska), Ciaran Culleton (Ballyfin), Aodhan Lowry (Arles-Kilcruise), Jamie Conway (Arles-Kilcruise), Jonah Kelly (Crettyard), Kodi Dunne (Barrowhouse), Darragh Kealy (Arles-Kilcruise), Harry Bradbury (Barrowhouse), Fergus Langton (Barrowhouse), Jimmy Hyland (Rosenallis), Conor Fitzpatrick (Timahoe), Oisin Ramsbottom (Timahoe), Finn Maher (Stradbally), Jesse Mc Evoy (Ballylinan), Daniel McGrath (Killeshin)