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Plenty of new faces as Laois football team named for O’Byrne Cup opener

Diarmuid Whelan

New Laois football manager Mike Quirke has named five debutants in the Laois team to face Offaly in the opening round of the O’Byrne Cup on Saturday.

Laois take on their neighbours at 2pm in Portarlington – and there will be first Laois senior starts for Clonaslee’s Niall Corbet, Portarlington’s Jason Moore, Stradbally native Garry Comerford, Ballyfin’s Darragh Connolly and last season’s U-20 player Diarmuid Whelan from Ballyroan-Abbey.

Corbet and Comerford are both former League of Ireland soccer players with Corbet named in goals – where he played with UCD, Bohemians and Waterford – instead of attack where he impressed for Clonaslee in this year’s Laois IFC.

Comerford, who played club football with Ballincollig in Cork this year as well as with Cork City, is named at wing-forward with Darragh Connolly, one of Ballyfin’s top players in their run to the Laois SFC semi-final, on the other wing.

Whelan is corner-forward while Moore, captain of the Portarlington team that also reached the last four of the Laois SFC, is named at wing-back.

Mountmellick’s Gearoid Hanrahan returns to full-back after not being involved since 2016 while Michael Keogh was involved in 2018 under John Sugrue but not in 2019.

None of the Portlaoise contingent are involved as they take some time following their run in the Leinster club championship, nor is there any involvement from intermediate champions Rosenallis.

John O’Loughlin, however, who will be part of the Rosenallis set up next year as he is set to return to his home club is named at midfield and is the side’s most experienced player as he begins his 13th season.

He is one of six starting players who featured in last year’s championship – the others being Trevor Collins, Robbie Pigott, Eoin Buggie, Paddy O’Sullivan, Eoin Lowry and Evan O’Carroll.

None of Eddie Kinsella’s U-20 squad are among the starting team nor is there any involvement from the Portarlington or Courtwood-Emo U-20s as they face off in the Laois U-20 final in Stradbally on Friday night.

  1. Nial Corbet (Clonaslee)
  2. Adam Campion (St Joseph’s)
  3. Gearoid Hanrahan (Mountmellick)
  4. Trevor Collins (Graiguecullen)
  5. Eoin Buggie (Stradbally)
  6. Robbie Pigott (Portarlington)
  7. Jason Moore (Portarlington)
  8. John O’Loughlin (St Brigid’s)
  9. Paddy O’Sullivan (Portarlington)
  10. Garry Comerford (Ballincollig)
  11. Eoin Lowry (Killeshin)
  12. Darragh Connolly (Ballyfin)
  13. Michael Keogh (St Joseph’s)
  14. Evan O’Carroll (Crettyard)
  15. Diarmuid Whelan (Ballyroan-Abbey)

SEE ALSO – Kingston brothers opt out of Laois football panel for 2020 season