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The latest Laois GAA Team of the Week with players from four grades represented

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The football championships continued at the weekend with a host of games down for decision

We had action in the first, second and third grades of the club football championship while we also had the final of the Junior B – the fourth tier.

Ballyfin lead the way with two players but there are a total of 14 clubs represented.

We also have the return of our Subs of the Week.

In any case, the team we went for is below.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know.

Check it all out below:

1 – Matthew Byron (Courtwood)

Courtwood’s 2019 season came to an end at the weekend but this young man will reflect on the previous 12 months very positively.

He put in a sting of fine performances for club and county – including in the defeat to Ballylinan on Saturday. He kept Courtwood in the game near the end and made a stunning save to deny Gary Walsh a certain goal.

2 – Liam Knowles (Stradbally)

Liam Knowles and Brian Byrne

 

Liam Knowles missed the first two rounds of the championship for Stradbally as he spent the summer but he returned just in time to help them stave off relegation on Sunday.

The versatile defender was switched onto the lively Andrew Booth early on and held him well with The Heath forward eventually going off.

3 – Aidan McGovern (Portlaoise)

Being on the Portlaoise second team would qualify you to be good enough to get on most of the other club teams in Laois and Aidan McGovern certainly fits that bill.

He was rock solid for the Town’s second string as they advanced past the challenge of Annanough in Ratheniska on Friday night.

4 – Paddy Dunne (Emo)

Emo defenders Niall Wheeler and Paddy Dunne make our Team of the Week this week
Emo defenders Niall Wheeler and Paddy Dunne after the 2017 IFC Final

Any defender who makes two blocks off his own line is worthy of inclusion here and that is what Emo man Paddy Dunne did on Sunday in the defeat to Graiguecullen.

His tigerish nature makes him a nightmare for attackers as he simply gives them no space.

5 – James O’Connor (Timahoe)

Timahoe will be disappointed with the way their championship season panned out – ending up in a relegation final with St Joseph’s last week.

But they overcame that and James O’Connor was very impressive as they did so. Younger brother of county man Damien, James has the ability to step up to the Laois seniors having previously represented the county at minor and U-20 level.

6 – James Kelly (St Joseph’s)

James Kelly St Josephs – Photo Paul Dargan

James Kelly started a number of games for the Laois seniors in 2017 but hasn’t really got much of a look-in since.

However, his performance against Ballyroan-Abbey at centre back on Sunday would suggest that perhaps he will see more game time in 2020. He kicked two fine points, contested kick-outs and made block after block.

7 – Eoin Bourke (Errill)

The Errill footballers have captured everyone’s imagination over the last few years as they have now won three county football titles in the last four seasons.

Players like Paddy Purcell, Jack Kelly, John Keane and Tadhg Dowling will always grab the headlines but Eoin Bourke gets the nod here on this time. Any player who can kick a 45 in a Junior B match is certainly worthy of inclusion!

8 – Darragh Connolly (Ballyfin)

When Darragh Connolly lined up for the throw in alongside James Finn and the two Kingston brothers – a few eyebrows were raised but he won the break off that and went on to have a brilliant game.

He landed three long range points from play and what he lacks in size, he certainly makes up for in aggression and ball skills.

9 – Evan O’Carroll (Crettyard)

The draw for Round 2 has been made
Evan O’Carroll

Where would Crettyard be without Evan O’Carroll? He is their best player and their best hope of being able to stave off relegation.

Starting in midfield against Kilcruise, O’Carroll was later switched to full forward where he ended up with 2-7.

10 – Niall Corbet (Clonaslee)

Niall Corbet

Bohemian’s loss has certainly been Clonaslee’s gain this year as Niall Corbet has returned to his club after a number of years playing professional soccer.

He scored 1-8 in the game and is one of the best strikers of a dead ball we have seen this year.

11 – Lee Campion (The Harps)

A late goal from Lee Campion snatched victory from the jaws of defeat for The Harps against Barrowhouse in a dramatic encounter in Timahoe at the weekend.

This was a serious win for The Harps who have now knocked out Portarlington and Barrowhouse thanks to late Lee Campion goals!

12 – Ross Hennessy (Graiguecullen)

Photo Paul Dargan

One of Graiguecullen’s most under-rated players, Ross Hennessy is enjoying a good season in the red and green.

He scored a real poachers goal in the win over Emo at the weekend and has a real knack of popping up with important scores and winning crucial frees.

13 – Gary Walsh (Ballylinan) 

Gary Walsh Picture: Paul Dargan

Just Like Liam Knowles above, Gary Walsh’s return to the Ballylinan team after his summer in America could not have come at a better time for his side.

He scored 11 points of Ballylinan’s total of 1-16 and he was undoubtedly

14 – Ross Munnelly (Arles-Kilcruise)

Ross Munnelly

Ross Munnelly has consistently scored well for Arles-Kilcruise for the best part of two decades and he was in fine form again as his side avoided relegation by defeating Crettyard.

Munnelly scored seven points and also held his nerve to convert a late penalty as Arles live to fight another day.

15 – Sean Moore (Ballyfin)

Sean Moore was excellent for Ballyfin this afternoon
Sean Moore

Sean Moore hasn’t featured for the Laois seniors yet after sparkling at underage level a couple of years ago.

However, he has been very impressive for Ballyfin so far this year and he landed 2-2 in their win over Arles-Killeen and also laid a third goal on a plate for Louis Duff. He is certainly worth a shot a senior level in 2020.

SUBS OF THE WEEK

David Duffy (Courtwood)

David Duffy was only on the field a matter of moments when he scored a goal that gave Courtwood the chance to snatch a draw from their defeat against Ballylinan at the weekend. It wasn’t to be but his contribution is certainly worthy of inclusion here.

Podge Fitzpatrick (Stradbally)

The Heath had Stradbally under the cosh in the opening quarter and manager Derek Conroy introduced Padraig Fitzpatrick at that stage.

He slotted in at wing back with Liam Knowles moving into the full back line and Stradbally became far more cohesive as a result. Went off injured late on but his work was done by then.

Danny Doogue (Graiguecullen)

Danny Doogue bagged a late goal in Graiguecullen’s Round 1 win over Ballyfin and he came in off the bench to kick two late points in the win over Emo at the weekend. A serious servant and a nice sub to have too.

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