There’s something about left-footed players.
Only 20% of the population are left-footed and those stats generally transfer into sporting teams too.
If a Gaelic football team has more than one left-footed forward – and more than three left-footed players in total on their starting team – it would be unusual.
It’s probably why you’ll never hear anyone say that a certain player has a ‘sweet’ or ‘cultured’ or ‘educated’ right boot. Those terms are reserved almost exclusively for left-footed players.
The best of course are able to kick equally well off both but that’s far more unusual than it probably should be.
So in the month that Brian ‘Bruno’ McCormack, arguably the most decorated Laois club footballer of all time and owner of one of the sweetest left boots announced his retirement, we have decide to pick some of the best left boots that are out there.
We have restricted it just to players currently playing – or have played in the 2019 season – and it is very forward heavy, thus eliminating the likes of Padraig McMahon and Colm Begley who are or have been quality inter county defenders.
But what a list it is all the same.
Paul Lawlor (Emo)
Only his twin sister Tracey is retired, the Lawlors would have been the only sibling duo included.
The former Laois footballer – who featured in Leinster finals in 2004 and 2007 – is still going strong at club level and has been player-manager of Emo for the last three seasons.
Has played in two senior finals with Emo and won two intermediates and that left boot – and that dummy solo – are a joy to behold.
Paul Cahillane (Portlaoise)
So talented at underage level that he was signed by Glasgow Celtic and spent a couple of years with the Scottish giants before returning home.
Has represented Laois at senior and U-21 level and has been a go-to forward for the Portlaoise footballers for the past couple of seasons. A great man to take a goal, he was badly missed by Portlaoise this year as he struggled to shake off a leg injury.
Michael John Tierney (Ballyroan-Abbey)
Tierney first came to prominence with the Laois minors in 2003 and 2004 when he won All Ireland and Leinster titles under Sean Dempsey.
Was a mainstay of those great Laois underage teams and also helped Ballyroan to a senior title in 2006 – when he was player of the year – and to intermediate crowns in 2008 and 2013. Another to play with Laois, his free-taking from the ground was both classy and consistent.
Ian Fleming (Graiguecullen)
Another from that great era of Sean Dempsey underage teams, Fleming has been very consistent over the years for Graiguecullen too.
Powerful on the ball, he has a weapon of a left foot too – and is as good as anyone in the county at drilling them off the outside of the boot.
Donie Brennan (Arles-Killeen)
The amount of classy left-footed players that came through the Sean Dempsey teams is incredible and at the time, Brennan was probably the most high-profile of them all.
Small in stature but he proved a handful for all the top underage defenders in the country. Won an All Ireland minor with Laois in 2003 and made his senior debut in the 2004 Leinster final replay when he was still minor.
Captained Knockbeg College to All Ireland glory in 2005 and is still central to the Arles-Killeen forward line.
Colm Coss (Mountmellick)
Coss has been one of Mountmellick’s top players for the last decade and a half and has represented Laois and senior and U-21 level.
Because of his size, he plays mostly midfield for the club but he has a real eye for a goal and a peach of a left boot on him.
A very good soccer player too, he’s another on this list that has played at a high level.
Ruairi O’Connor (Timahoe)
Another hugely talented player, the Timahoe man has also represented Laois at every level.
Incredibly accurate off his left boot, he’s a handful for any defender when he’s in top form.
His tally of 5-7 (with all five goals coming in the second half) against Courtwood in the intermediate quarter-final in 2017 has to be among the highest individual scores ever recorded by a player in a single aduly game.
Killian Horgan (Annanough)
Horgan was man of the match when Annanough won the 2018 Laois junior football title in what was his first adult season.
Can play anywhere from the half-back line up and possesses a lovely left boot and is a really stylish kicker of the ball.
Likely to be involved with the Laois U-20s in 2020.
Jason Enright (Arles-Killeen)
Arles-Killeen may have struggled in the Laois SFC in the last couple of seasons but they knocked hard on the door a number of times over the years and were unlucky that their best years co-incided with the great Portlaoise teams.
Jason Enright has been one of their top forwards over the last 20 years. Has a peach of left foot on him and has delivered a series of fine club performances. Played for Laois at minor and U-21 level without ever getting an extended run with the seniors.
Niall Donoher (Courtwood)
Courtwood man Donoher is another of the Sean Dempsey era – though most of his time then was spent as an attacking wing back.
Was a great link man for the Laois seniors for a number of seasons when playing as a half forward and as well as being good for a couple of scores from play, he always got on an amount of ball.
Was partial to plenty of impressive outside-of-the-boot efforts and was another whose left foot has decided many games.
Mark Barry (O’Dempsey’s)
One of the younger kids on the block though the O’Dempsey’s man has already played for the Laois senior team in league and championship.
Pacy, lethal around goal a great passer of the ball, Barry was central to O’Dempsey’s run to the 2018 Laois senior football final and for the Laois U-20s in last year’s run to the Leinster decider.
Will expect to see more of him – and that stylish left boot – in the coming seasons.
Micheal Finlay (O’Dempsey’s)
The Finlay name is synonymous with the O’Dempsey’s club and while a senior title has eluded them since 1980, they are one of the county’s most consistent and vibrant clubs.
Micheal Finlay who has been central to their attack since 2004. Though he missed out on Laois underage selection and only featured briefly at senior level, he has been one of the county’s top club forwards over the last 15 years or so and has been a regular source of scores for the Killenard club – most of them coming off that left boot.
Ross Munnelly (Arles-Kilcruise)
One of the first names for this list. A Laois senior since 2003, a regular for Arles-Kilcruise since 1999 and consistently among the top scoring forwards in the Laois championship regardless of how his side may have gone in a particular season.
Twice named senior club footballer of the year – and the only player to get the award in a year his club didn’t win the championship – Munnelly’s longevity, consistency and ability to come up with crucial scores is just remarkable.
Jason Moore (Portarlington)
A Laois minor in 2006, Jason Moore had to wait over 13 years to make his senior debut but it came last Saturday against Offaly in the O’Byrne Cup.
A powerful player with a mighty left boot which scored a couple of goals for Portarlington in the championship this year – he is an interesting inclusion.
Darragh Connolly (Ballyfin)
Just like the man above him, Darragh Connolly made his Laois debut last weekend in the O’Byrne Cup.
His ability to score from distance off the outside of his left boot was a joy to behold for Ballyfin this year and he popped up with a great point for Laois last week.
Ryan Mullaney (Castletown)
The Castletown footballers were almost the story of 2019 as their amazing run saw them reach the Junior final where they just lost out to O’Dempsey’s.
The team don’t take their football training very seriously but in Ryan Mullaney, the only Laois hurler to make this list, they have a really fine left footed player who can score from play and frees. Imagine how good he could be if he trained!
Conor Boyle (Portlaoise)
A defender in his early years, Conor Boyle has graduated up the field for Portlaoise in recent seasons and now finds himself a permanent fixture at centre forward.
He has a wand of a left foot which can create opportunities for those in front of him and also kick scores.
Matty Campion (St Joseph’s)
Plagued with injury in recent years, Matty Campion is still one of St Joseph’s main forwards.
He can kick frees and is always good for a goal off his sweet left foot.
Mo Nerney (Timahoe)
Mo Nerney is the only Ladies footballer to make this list and she is absolutely class.
The forwards led the line for Timahoe as they reached the county final and she racked up some seriously impressive tallies along the way – mainly amassed with her left foot. Was excellent in the Laois ladies championship this year and is also a very accompished soccer player.
Garry Comerford (Stradbally)
Like Darragh Connolly and Jason Moore above, 25-year-old Garry Comerford made his debut for the Laois senior footballers last Saturday in the O’Byrne Cup.
And the former League of Ireland player gave fans a glimpse of what his left peg is capable with a free and also a brilliant pass for Laois’s opening goal.
Gareth Dillon (Portlaoise)
Versatility of Gareth Dillon’s middle name as he spends one half of the year defending and the other half of the year attacking.
Stationed in the full back line with Laois, Dillon normally operates at wing forward for Portlaoise where he routinely shows his left footed point scoring ability.