The Laois U-15 footballers are gearing up for a huge game with Kerry in two weeks time in the Adam Mangan Cup final.
The O’Moore youngsters took on Cork in the semi final of the competition last weekend and scored a remarkable and nail-biting victory.
Cork, coached by All-Ireland 2010 football winning manager Conor Counihan, started well with two points but Laois got going with Portlaoise’s Kieran O’Donnell, Timahoe’s Conor Fitzpatrick and Ballylinan’s Jesse McEvoy.
Cork replied with a goal but then Portlaoise duo Barry Fitzpatrick and Colin McEvoy combined for the latter to score Laois’s first goal.
And Laois weren’t finished there either as Conor Fitzpatrick scored a brilliant individual goal to leave Laois ahead 2-4 to 1-4 at half time.
Cork started the second half like the first with two early points but O’Donnell and Graiguecullen’s Jack Byrne settled Laois down once more.
However, Cork then got a goal after a high ball into the Laois square caused havoc and when they added a point, they led for the first time in the second half.
Laois didn’t panic and showed some real courage to again go down the field and tag on points from Kieran O’Donnell and Jack Byrne.
Some excellent catches from keeper Liam Kehoe, Spink, who kept calm under the high balls that kept coming into his area inspired the rest of the team to keep int he game and drive on.
The Laois defence led by captain Darragh Slevin, Portarlington, and Conor Harte, Graiguecullen, closed the shop on huge Cork pressure to win the game by a single point, 2-10 to 2-9.
Reflecting on the win, manager Mark Bates said: “The commitment and desire to learn that this bunch of young lads have shown has been phenomenal.
“Hard work and dedication not only from them but their parents as well to get them to training in the early mornings, late evenings, has been the foundation of the massive progress they have made this year.
“It is very much a team effort between, players, parents, management and the county board, all of whom have been a credit to Laois.”
Laois now progress to the Adam Mangan Cup final where they will play Kerry on August 17 in Offaly.
Mark said: “We have a huge task ahead of us, but we want to be playing against the best teams in the country all of the time and Kerry is certainly one of those teams”
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)
Management Team: Mark Bates, Alan Abbey, Paddy Travers and Jon Fitzpatrick