Laois SHC ‘A’ Semi-final – Rosenallis v Colt
In O’Moore Park at 7pm
The second tier hurling competition in Laois is proving a difficult one to get a read on this year.
There’s been a series of surprise results – Mountrath beating Colt and Clonaslee and Colt beating Ballyfin all in the same group; Rosenallis then hammering Mountrath in the quarter-final and Slieve Bloom beating Clonaslee in the relegation final.
The first of the semi-finals is this evening in O’Moore Park where a Colt team that topped their group (albeit on scoring difference) play a Rosenallis side that we’re unimpressive in the group stages but then blew Mountrath in the quarter-final two weeks ago.
They’ve since won the intermediate football title in a bruising affair against neighbours Clonaslee last weekend and duly celebrated joyously for a couple of days in the aftermath of that win.
Will those celebrations have damaged their hurling hopes? Or will the adrenaline and buzz of that win actually be to their benefit?
It did no harm three years ago when they did the intermediate hurling/junior football double. Doing a double again at two higher grades would be an even bigger achievement.
A gritty and dogged Colt side stand in their way, a Colt side that beat them at this exact stage two years ago.
Chris Murray, Sean O’Callaghan and James and Henry Keyes are all capable of chipping in with scores.
But John Lennon, Paddy Keating and Brian Fitzpatrick will do the same for Rosenallis while the Fennells and goalkeeper Stephen Kelly provide quality at the other end.
Rosenallis may be clocking up the miles at this stage but they may have enough in them to get to another final.
Laois MHC Final – Abbeyleix Gaels v The Harps
In O’Moore Park at 5.15pm
The rescheduling of the Laois Senior and Senior ‘A’ hurling championships because of Laois’s run to the All Ireland quarter-final has meant that the minor grade (now U-17) has lost its place on senior county final day.
It has gone to the same schedule as last year but is now the curtain raiser to this evening’s Senior ‘A’ semi-final between Rosenallis and Colt.
Twelve months on from losing the minor final to Clough-Ballacolla/Mountrath, The Harps are back again looking to make up for the disappointment of that loss.
The Harps arrive to the final unbeaten thanks to a massive 1-31 to 2-11 semi-final win over Clough-Ballacolla and group stage wins over Rathdowney-Errill, Camross-Na Fianna and today’s final opponents Abbeyleix Gaels who they had a couple of points to spare over.
James Duggan, Rhian Edwards, Mikey Monaghan and Ciaran Burke are among their star men while they can also call on the likes of younger players like James O’Connor and Cody Comerford.
Abbeyleix Gaels (Abbeyleix and Ballinakill) have a team packed with Laois minors including the O’Shaughnessy twins, Cathal and Cian, Ian Shanahan, Lawson Obular, Fionan Mahony and Ned Fitzpatrick.
Indeed it’s a generally talented side with many of them involved with the Ballyroan-Abbey minor football team that will look to put titles back to back next week.
Abbeyleix Gaels had an impressive win over Borris-Kilcotton in the semi-final and while they lost the group game to The Harps, they may just have enough to get the job done here.
Prediction: Abbeyleix Gaels