Laois 2-8 Wicklow 0-7
Gerry O’Reilly Shield Final
The Laois U-16 footballers were crowned Gerry O’Reilly Shield champions following a seven point win over Wicklow at the weekend in the final.
The side, coached by Niall Coss, Shane Hanlon and Mossy O’Connor, contained a number of players who represented Laois at minor level this year.
Kian Lawler, Simon Fingleton, Oisin Hooney, Colin Dunne and Daire Scully all played in the final while the panel also contained Conor Kelly, Shaun Fitzpatrick, Davin McEvoy and PJ Ward who missed out either through injury or holidays.
Laois played with the aid of a galeforce wind in the first half but they struggled to break down a very defensive Wicklow side.
Captain and man of the match Colin Dunne kicked four first half frees for Laois but their lead would only be two points at half time.
Wicklow quickly wiped out Laois’s advantage and levelled the game at 0-4 apiece but Laois introduced Portlaoise’s Sam Birrane at half time to play as a sweeper and he executed the role brilliantly.
His positioning snuffed out countless Wicklow attacks and one of those turnovers led directly to a goal for Colin Dunne.
Laois had their tails up now and points from Oisin Hooney, DJ White and Ross Meredith left them four points ahead as we entered the closing stages.
But the gloss was put on the win with almost the final play as Portarlington sub Adam Burns delicately chipped the Wicklow keeper to ensure a seven point win.
These lads, and the Laois U-15s who lost out to Kerry in the Adam Mangan Cup final on Saturday, will make up the Laois minor team next year and that has all the ingredients to be a very exciting side.
SCORERS – LAOIS: Colin Dunne 1-4, Adam Burns 1-0, Oisin Hooney 0-2, DJ White and Ross Meredith 0-1 each
LAOIS: Josh Kelly (Crettyard); Sam Quinn (Ballyroan-Abbey), Kian Lawler (Graiguecullen), Dan Daly (The Heath); Ben Dempsey (Portlaoise), Simon Fingleton (Park-Ratheniska), Padraig Rafter (Rathdowney); Ben Reddin (Portlaoise), Oisin Hooney (St Joseph’s); Josh Hogan (Portlaoise), Brian Smith (Portlaoise), Ross Meredith (Emo); DJ White (Portlaoise), Colin Dunne (Arles-Killeen), Odhran Delaney (Ballyroan-Abbey). Subs: Daire Scully (Clonaslee), Adam Burns (Portarlington), Sam Birrane (Portlaoise), Lee Day (Barrowhouse), Conor Heffernan (Clonaslee), Eoin Culleton (Ballyfin), Dylan Murphy (Portarlington), Lee Byrne (Graiguecullen), Conor Kelly (Graiguecullen), Shaun Fitzpatrick (Ballyroan-Abbey), Adam Delaney (St Joseph’s), Jack Tobin (Portlaoise), Kai Byne (Mountmellick), Finn Culleton (Mountmellick), Davin McEvoy (Ballyroan-Abbey), PJ Ward (Portarlington)
The U-16s were not the only successful Laois football team at the weekend as Laois second U-15 team claimed Adam Mangan Shield glory.
They took on Offaly in the final and emerged 1-9 to 0-5 winners.
LAOIS: Oisin Ramsbottom (Timahoe); Cian Rafter (Mountmellick), Jack Ahern (The Rock), Sean McGrath (Graiguecullen); Jack Gorman (Mountmellick), Ben O’Dea (Ballyroan-Abbey), Jamie Conway (Arles-Kilcruise); Aodhan Lowry (Arles-Kilcruise), Harry Bradburry (Barrowhouse); John O’Shea (Graiguecullen), Mikee Horohan (Graiguecullen), Kodi Dunne (Barrowhouse); Cian Nolan (Park-Ratheniska), Finn Maher (Stradbally), Jonah Kelly (Crettyard). Subs: Dylan Keyes (The Heath), Cale Brennan (St Joseph’s), Jimmy Hyland (Rosenallis), Aaron Dorgan (Graiguecullen)