The Laois football championships get underway this week with games in all five adult grades.
And we were joined by former Laois player and current O’Dempsey’s footballer Peter O’Leary to look ahead to all the games.
With no league form to go on, predicting the opening rounds is somewhat difficult but the general consensus is the same as every year: Portlaoise are the team to beat.
Thursday evening sees the opening round game in the Laois Shopping Centre SFC as Ballyroan-Abbey, who are managed by former Laois player Padraig Clancy, take on a St Joseph’s side under his former Laois colleague Joe Higgins.
On Friday, neighbours Arles-Killeen and Graiguecullen do battle while on Saturday there are two games – champions Portlaoise, now under Kevin Fitzpatrick, take on a Ballylinan side who are managed by former Portlaoise boss Mick Lillis while neighbours Courtwood and O’Dempsey’s meet in the second game.
On Sunday morning Emo face last year’s beaten finalists Killeshin while Portarlington and Stradbally meet in the second game.
Sunday evening sees the meeting of Ballyfin and newly-promoted Rosenallis while The Heath and Arles-Kilcruise bring the curtain down on the weekend schedule in the last game of the day.
We look ahead to all of those games as well as to who we think is most likely to challenge Portlaoise – and who is danger of being relegated.
We also look ahead to the four intermediate championship games – Annanough v The Rock; Clonaslee v Mountmellick; Portlaoise v O’Dempsey’s and Crettyard v Timahoe – and an overview of the Junior ‘A’ football championship.