It’s another busy day of Laois club hurling action with four championship games down for decision.
O’Moore Park hosts a triple header of the two Senior ‘A’ quarter-finals and the second senior quarter-final between Borris-Kilcotton and Ballinakill.
Meanwhile, Abbeyleix and Portlaoise will do battle in the senior relegation playoff at 2pm in Colt.
We look ahead to all four games here.
Laois SHC Quarter-final – Borris-Kilcotton v Ballinakill
In O’Moore Park at 4pm
The big game of the day sees Borris-Kilcotton and Ballinakill renew their rivalry, one that has seen a list of extremely tight games over the past decade since Borris-Kilcotton formed.
Three years ago, when Borris-Kilcotton won the Bob O’Keeffe Cup for the first time, the sides met four times as the old system allowed with Ballinakill winning after a replay in Round 2 and then Borris-Kilcotton winning after a replay in the semi-final.
A little over 12 months ago, then, Ballinakill beat Borris-Kilcotton in the final group game to take top spot and go straight through to the semi-final.
Today, however, Borris-Kilcotton are the hottest of 1/8 favourites with Paddy Power. Ballinakill are available at 5/1.
While they’d a blip in Round 2 against Clough-Ballacolla, this championship campaign so far has seen Borris-Kilcotton record a first ever championship win over Camross and a 20-point trouncing of Abbeyleix the last day out.
What was notable about that win over Abbeyleix was their intent on going for goals and they have the players to get them if they adapt a similar style again.
PJ Scully is shooting the lights out and Joe Campion, Aaron Dunphy and Neil Foyle have goals in them too.
Ballinakill will need everything to go right for them. But you can be sure they’ll be hard to play against, will close down the space and hope the likes of Eamon Jackman and Cha Dwyer can clock up the scores.
But Ballinakill have lost twice already this year and Borris-Kilcotton seem to be finding their groove.
Borris-Kilcotton to win.
Laois SHC Relegation Final – Abbeyleix v Portlaoise
In Colt at 2pm
The final that nobody ever wants to be in and after playing all the group games in O’Moore Park, Portlaoise and Abbeyleix are banished out to Colt to see who’ll lose their senior status.
Both sides come into this on the back of a wretched run of games. Abbeyleix lost by 20 points to Borris-Kilcotton in their last outing, Portlaoise were beaten by 23 by Rathdowney-Errill on a day they conceded 2-33.
But in a one-off fixture where both teams are going so bad, it’s a case of trying to win this game and forget about 2019 as soon as possible.
Portlaoise would appear to be struggling more than Abbeyleix but as they showed last year when they won the Senior ‘A’, they know how to get it right when it matters.
There won’t be much in it – but Abbeyleix might just have enough.
Laois SHC ‘A’ Quarter-final – Ballyfin v Shanahoe
In O’Moore Park at 1pm
The first of the Senior ‘A’ quarter-finals sees 2017 champions Ballyfin go up against Shanahoe.
Ballyfin haven’t set the world alight in this competition yet at all, scraping by Clonaslee and Mountrath before losing to Colt the last day out.
It’s a busy time for the club as they balance their football committments also and half their team are dual players.
Shanahoe took third place in their group thanks to a win over Slieve Bloom but they couldn’t get within 10 points of Rosenallis or The Harps.
Ballyfin would be a similar standard as those two and while they’re struggling for scores, they are strongly fancied to book a semi-final place.
Laois SHC ‘A’ Quarter-final – Rosenallis v Mountrath
In O’Moore Park at 2.30pm
This should be the more interesting of the two Senior ‘A’ quarter-finals.
Rosenallis gave Mountrath a big beating at this exact stage two years ago but Mountrath appear to be going well this year and they’ll fancy their chances.
It’s been a good year for the club with the Junior ‘B’ success followed up with an encouraging Senior ‘A’ run, one that has seen them record wins over Colt and Clonaslee and run Ballyfin close.
That is all a huge achievement on last year where they needed a relegation final win over Trumera to maintain their status.
Rosenallis, for their part, don’t appear to be going as well as the last two years even though it’s a good time for the club as they’ve the intermediate football final to look forward to next Saturday.
They were poor in the opening round against The Harps and while they were too strong for Shanahoe, they only had four points to spare over Slieve Bloom the last day.
This one should be tight but Rosenallis might just have enough to book a semi-final place.