There’s an action-packed day of senior football to be decided later today as Round 2 of the Laois SFC gets into full-swing. Ballyfin play Crettyard, Portlaoise take on Courtwood and Ballyroan-Abbey meet Portarlington.
We look ahead to the action here.
Laois SFC Round 2 Qualifier – Ballyfin v Crettyard
In O’Moore Park at 4.30pm
These two teams are getting well used to each other in the championship with this set to be their third meeting in recent years. Crettyard have won both of the previous clashes.
Crettyard won when the sides met at the same stage last year with Ballyfin needed a relegation final win over Clonaslee to extend their stay in the senior grade.
They’ll be hoping to avoid a similar scrap this time around.
Crettyard were unlucky in their game against Arles-Killeen and only lost by two points.
Ballyfin were defeated by Graiguecullen, but Killian Fitzpatrick’s troops gave Graiguecullen a good game for the best part of the match.
The winners will be safe from relegation, while the losers will drop to the relegation semi-finals.
The scoring power of Evan O’Carroll might be enough to swing it in Crettyard’s favour.
Last Meeting: The sides met at the same stage of last year’s championship. Crettyard were beaten in Round 3 and Ballyfin won the relegation final.
Odds: Ballyfin 13/8; Crettyard 4/7; Draw 15/2
Laois SFC Round 2 Winners – Portlaoise v Courtwood
In O’Moore Park at 6.00pm
Champions collide as reigning Laois SFC champions Portlaoise go up against last year’s intermediate champions Courtwood.
Courtwood are a side brimming with confidence at the moment after their superb victory over Arles-Kilcruise in Round 1.
Courtwood’s squad is packed with youth with three of their players involved with the Laois U-20s. Sean O’Flynn also made his senior debut for the Laois senior team this year.
Portlaoise were comfortable in their victory over Ballylinan and didn’t need to get out of first gear.
This game promises to be another huge step up and test for Courtwood. It’s a great chance for them to see where they’re at against the best team in the county.
Portlaoise are hot favourites to win but Courtwood should compete well enough.
Story so far: Courtwood easily dispatched of Arles Kilcruise 4-14 to 1-11. Portlaoise steamrolled to a 2-18 to 0-11 victory over Ballylinan.
Last Meeting: With Courtwood outside the top tier of Laois club football since the mid 1990s, you have to go back to 1992 for the last time the sides met in senior – when Portlaoise were 1-11 to 0-5 winners. Incidentally, Courtwood manager Eddie Kinsella and Portlaoise manager Niall Rigney lined out for their respective clubs that day.
Odds: Portlaoise 1/16; Courtwood 15/2; Draw 16/1
Laois SFC Round 2 Winners – Portarlington v Ballyroan-Abbey
In O’Moore Park at 7.30pm
Portarlington are regarded as one of the teams that could possibly trouble Portlaoise if they play to their potential.
Ballyroan haven’t had as much time to recover after their replay win over Emo on Tuesday night. The lack of a break could be their downfall here.
Portarlington comfortably defeated The Heath in Round 1 and Ballyroan-Abbey needed a replay to defeat Emo.
Portarlington have many county stars with a handful of players playing for the Laois senior team and Laois U-20s.
Ballyroan-Abbey possess a highly talented full-forward line of MJ Tierney, Padraig McMahon and Diarmuid Whelan and Marty Scully and Scott Conroy provide additional quality from further out.
Portarlington have beaten Ballyroan in each of the last two championship and they should have enough here again.
Story so far: Portarlington were convincing winners against The Heath with a scoreline of 0-19 to 0-7.
Last Meeting: The sides met in the opening round last year when Port won 1-11 to 0-12.
Odds: Portarlington 2/7; Ballyroan-Abbey 3/1; Draw 8/1