The Laois U-20 ‘B’ football championship final is on this Saturday in Mountmellick at 1.30pm.
Clonaslee-St Manman’s will take on The Heath in the final and ahead of the game, we caught up with captain Jack Owens.
After excelling in the Laois Divisional Competition with the victorious West side, he is hoping for more glory again this weekend.
What’s your earliest GAA memory?
My earliest memory with the club would probably be U-6 training with Mick Kelly who coached us the whole way up to u-14. Also John Barrett and Jim Hickey who would have coached hurling around that time.
Tell us a bit about the club?
We are a small club in the north of Laois we have roughly 800 people living in the area. Everybody in the village has some involvement in the club.
We have a team in nearly all underage grades by ourselves which is a massive achievement for a small club to have such numbers. To be providing teams by ourselves with so many amalgamations around lately is also very good I think.
What are the facilities like?
The facilities in the club are basic enough at the minute but currently we are holding a fundraiser with all money raised going towards a massive development plan which will be great for the club and village as a whole.
Can you remember the first time you went to play with Clonaslee?
My earliest playing memory would be playing blitzes at U-8 level which are some of the best memories playing.
What is your favourite memory while being involved?
I have lots of great memories playing but my favourite one over the years was probably winning the U-17 hurling championship final in 2017 against Rosenallis.
Have you enjoyed much success in the underage grades so far?
We would always have been a very competitive team over the years and would have had mixed success. Normally we would always win something whether it was a league, championship or shield so hopefully this Saturday will prove no different.
Who did you look up to in the club when you were younger?
Darren Rooney and James Young were always the ones I looked up to as a child. They would have been involved with Laois at the time and were real role models for me.
What young player in your club would you say is one to watch out for?
Will Murray and Senan O’Brien are certainly ones to look out for. The two lads that are never out out the field.
Who is best trainer and worst trainer in your team and why?
Barry Kelly is probably the best trainer in the squad while Paddy Hyland is probably the worst. We never really see him in the field unless its game day!!
If you could do anything to improve the club, what would it be?
We need to keep the younger players going to the field. The club are taking a big step towards improving with the new development plan and it is very important that all of the younger players that we have stay playing.
What’s the best and worst thing about being involved?
The best thing about being involved is probably the craic with the lads that you have at training and match.
But by far the worst thing is Conor Gorman’s warm ups – you would be fit to drop after them!