After 14 rounds of games, the Laois Division 1 football league has been decided in a boardroom as Laois GAA ruled that O’Dempsey’s didn’t fulfil the final fixture against Portlaoise, thus awarding the title to Portlaoise.
O’Dempsey’s had topped the table at the end of the normal league season and had been due to meet Portlaoise in the decider as they went in search of a third success in a row in the grade.
In most years the final would be played before the start of the championship but when a suitable date couldn’t be found, it was fixed for the Wednesday night after the opening round.
O’Dempsey’s didn’t agree to this scheduling, coming as it did just four days after their championship win over St Joseph’s. Portlaoise had a seven-day break as they played their first championship game against Ballylinan on the previous Wednesday.
O’Dempsey’s appealed the decision but it wasn’t successful.
O’Dempsey’s player and county board delegate Peter O’Leary raised the issue at Monday’s county board meeting, arguing that the game was never confirmed and that an email on the Monday morning before the game had ‘TBC’ beside the fixture.
“I’m not trying to be awkward but why was it fixed four days after our championship game and Portlaoise had seven days.
“What would have happened had our championship game been a draw? And what was the rush with it?”
“We stand over the decisions of the fixture committee. You had the right to appeal and it didn’t succeed.”
The Division 1 football final was the only one of the 12 hurling or football finals that wasn’t played.
Both teams are still in the championship having won their first two games. O’Dempsey’s play Ballyfin in the quarter-finals while Portlaoise meet St Joseph’s. Those games take place on the weekend of September 14/15.
SEE ALSO – Championship Diary: Top football scorers, Mountmellick’s winning run and a Junior ‘C’ anomaly