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Championship Diary: New jerseys for St Joseph’s, ladies weekend and hurling top scorers

Ladies weekend a huge success – and Crettyard put on a serious show

There was some disquiet last week when the finalists in the Laois Ladies senior football championship became known and that the final wouldn’t be in O’Moore Park.

The county grounds were booked by the Laois Ladies for Saturday but with Sarsfields having a long-standing request not to have a fixture on that date, their game was moved to Sunday. Hurling championship was in O’Moore Park on Sunday afternoon and with the ladies not looking to move that and not keen on a late throw-in time, it meant that the game was moved to Crettyard.

That was something that didn’t overly please either Sarsfields or Timahoe.

In any case the junior and intermediate finals went ahead in O’Moore Park on Saturday and produced two great games and brilliant celebration scenes afterwards.

On Sunday, then, the Crettyard club along with the Laois LGFA, put on a serious show with a huge crowd turning up to see could Sarsfields claim an historic seventh title in a row or if Timahoe could cause a shock.

There was a steady line of traffic from Stradbally to Simmons Mill, on past Pedigree Corner and up to the immaculate Crettyard GAA grounds.

Such was the crowd that there were cars abandoned on both sides of the busy road and inside thr grounds, there was a team of stewards directing traffic to the back pitch which was used as an overflow car park.

Crettyard chairman Jason Kearney was spear-heading the Crettyard effort and Laois ladies officials like Phil O’Keeffe, Martina Brennan and Danielle Keane were pulling out all the stops too.

A decent match programme, young players waving the teams on to the pitch, a great sound system and a half-time game all in front of a full stand and on a pristine pitch. There was even a shop open!

While the grumblings were understandable prior to the game (and focused on the disappointment for the players not getting to O’Moore Park rather than a blame game), the senior double header in Crettyard that also included St Brigid’s relegation final win over Sarsfields was a prime example of a big game in a club grounds being a great occasion.

Well done to all concerned.


Castletown footballers continue winning streak

What football team in Laois are on the longest winning streak? You’d be forgiven for thinking it was Portlaoise as they go in search of a third senior title in a row and a 12th in 13 years.

But while they haven’t lost a championship game since that famous county final to Stradbally in October 2016, the distinction actually belongs to Castletown who haven’t been beaten in a football championship fixture since July of 2016.

Rathdowney beat them in the Junior ‘C’ semi-final that year but Castletown have since won the Junior ‘C’ in 2017, the Junior ‘B’ in 2018 and are now into the Junior ‘A’ semi-final following Tuesday night’s win over Spink.

In all it means they’ve won 10 games in a row – no losses or no draws across three different grades.

On Sunday next they face probably their biggest challenge when they come up against one of the Junior ‘A’ football favourites in Park-Ratheniska in the semi-final. The other semi-final is on Monday night between O’Dempsey’s and The Heath.

When you consider that Castletown also have a very busy hurling schedule with both junior and senior hurling teams still in the championship, it makes their football exploits all the more impressive.


Pedigree Corner backing St Joseph’s

While Pedigree Corner was a firm favourite on the social scene for many years for people from across the county and a great GAA pub in general – it has always been firmly a St Joseph’s establishment.

It has been under various owners over the years but recently it has been taken over by John and Norma Lynch who have done a great job bringing it back to life.

And they’ve generously stepped up to the plate to sponsor St Joseph’s with a new set of jerseys, with the Pedigree Corner logo proudly emblazoned across the club.

The jerseys were presented to the club this week ahead of their Laois SFC quarter-final clash against champions Portlaoise on Sunday in O’Moore Park.

St Joseph’s manager and club legend Dessie Brennan was joined by current players, officials and young supporters – who’ll be hoping they can cause one of the shocks of the year on Sunday.


Scully races clear at the top of the hurling scoring charts

Borris-Kilcotton comfortably booked their place in the knockout stages of the Laois SHC at the weekend when they got the better of Abbeyleix on Saturday evening in O’Moore Park.

PJ Scully once again led the way in the scoring charts, hitting 2-9 to bring his tally from the three group games to 4-29. He scored 1-10 in both of the first two games.

It means he is way out in front as the championship’s top scorer on a total of 41 points. Clough-Ballacolla’s Stephen Maher is next with 0-25.

In terms of scores just from play, Scully is second in that list, just one point behind Laois hurling captain Paddy Purcell who has 4-5 from play in three games.

Top Scorers – Overall

  1. PJ Scully (Borris-Kilcotton) – 4-29 (41)
  2. Stephen Maher (Clough-Ballacolla) – 0-25 (25)
  3. Niall Holmes (Camross) – 1-20 (23)
  4. Mark Kavanagh (Rathdowney-Errill) – 0-22 (22)
  5. Paddy Purcell (Rathdowney-Errill) – 4-5 (17)

Top Scorers – From Play

  1. Paddy Purcell (Rathdowney-Errill) – 4-5 (17)
  2. PJ Scully (Borris-Kilcotton) – 4-4 (16)
  3. Stephen Bergin (Clough-Ballacolla) – 2-7 (13)
  4. Cha Dwyer (Ballinakill) – 1-8 (0-11)
  5. Cian Taylor (Portlaoise) – 0-10 (10)

Snapchat previews mix the good with the bad

The LaoisToday Snapchat previews have become a staple of our championship coverage over the last couple of years.

But like all predictions, they can go both ways – and it’s an unforgiving audience out there. Steven and Alan have rotated the Snapchat previews between them this year with the rare wrong prediction gleefully celebrated by the clubs in question.

Steven was dropped from the job after predicting Clonaslee would beat The Harps in this year’s Division 5 football final (The Harps won 4-12 to 1-7) and then this week predicted that Spink would beat Castletown in the junior football (Castletown won 5-15 to 2-8)!

Despite getting seven from seven last Saturday, the notifications were hopping again this week as he incorrectly went against Castletown twice in three days and also said that Ballyfin would beat Colt.

As the announcer would say in the big grounds, “there is one change on the LaoisToday team”. It’s over to you again Alan!

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