The first of the Laois SFC Round 2 action gets underway this evening with the meeting of St Joseph’s and The Heath while there is also two big games in the intermediate football championship.
We look ahead to the action here.
Laois SFC Round 2 Qualifier – St Joseph’s v The Heath
In O’Moore Park at 7.45pm
The losers round isn’t where anybody wants to be and this is a tie neither side would fancy.
Two teams that have threatened to step up in the last couple of years – but only a couple of quarter-final appearances and one semi-final outing between.
Both are down on previous years and both lost by double figures in the opening round.
St Joseph’s were more impressive against O’Dempsey’s than The Heath were against Portarlington. Brian Daly for Joseph’s and Evin Keane for The Heath could be back available but it would appear that Joseph’s have greater room for improvement.
A loss for The Heath would send them into the relegation playoffs for the third time in four years.
Story so far: St Joseph’s were beaten 2-15 to 0-11 by O’Dempseys while The Heath lost 0-19 to 0-7 to Portarlington.
Last meeting: St Joseph’s got the better of The Heath in the opening round of last year’s championship on a scoreline of 2-12 to 1-9 en route to a semi-final appearance. The Heath had to win a playoff against Ballyfin Gaels to avoid going into the relegation final
Odds: St Joseph’s 4/11; The Heath 5/2; Draw 8/1
Prediction: St Joseph’s
Laois IFC Round 2 Qualifier – Timahoe v Clonaslee
In Portarlington at 7.30pm
Like the senior game above, this isn’t a game either side wanted to be in.
Both were rightly considered among the championship contenders in this grade before the opening round – but both disappointed and the losers of this fixture will be out of the championship and into a relegation decider.
The red cards picked up Sean Condon and Glenn McEvoy in Clonaslee’s loss to Portlaoise means those two are suspended and Clonaslee could struggle without them.
Timahoe were only narrowly beaten by Mountmellick but it was a poor game and they’ll have to step it up to make it to the business end.
Niall Corbet is an incredible free-taker for Clonaslee but if Timahoe can limit his opportunities, they may have enough at the other end to pull through.
Last meeting: The last time these two met in a championship game was the 2015 IFC semi-final, a game Clonaslee won en route to winning the title.
Laois IFC Round 2 Winners – Rosenallis v The Rock
In Mountmellick at 7.30pm
There will be plenty of rivalry in this one with former Rock players Mark and Paddy Dunne very much central to the Rosenallis effort.
Mark is a key man at centre-forward with Paddy back for his second spell as manager having previously guided the club to Laois and Leinster titles in 2016 and to an intermediate semi-final in his first year in charge in 2017.
Both would have played with many of the current Rock team, particularly their long-serving players like the McDonalds, Philip Peake and David Murphy and some of their management team.
The Rock beat St Joseph’s to come through Round 1 while Rosenallis got the better of Annanough.
The Rock would appear to have progressed a bit from last season but Rosenallis had five points to spare when they met in last year’s championship and should still have enough.
Story so far: Last year’s Laois minor captain Sean O’Neill helped The Rock to a 2-9 to 0-8 win over St Joseph’s in a game that bizarrely saw five players red carded. Rosenallis also had a seven-point win in their opening game, beating Annanough 2-14 to 3-4.
Last meeting: The sides met at the same stage in last year’s championship when Rosenallis were 1-16 to 0-14 winners in Portarlington.