It’s a busy day of action again on the Laois club football scene – with three senior, two intermediate, two junior and two senior ladies football games down for decision.
We look ahead at all the games below.
Laois Shopping Centre SFC – Ballyfin v Ballyroan-Abbey
In MW Hire O’Moore Park at 2pm
The first of the triple header in O’Moore Park today sees a novel senior encounter and a first clash at this level between Ballyfin and Ballyroan-Abbey.
Ballyroan-Abbey are four and a half weeks without a game as they played before the localised lockdown was announced while Ballyfin were in action less than two weeks ago.
Incidentally, both are coming off the back of one-point wins though they were achieved in different circumstances.
Ballyroan-Abbey got a goal deep in stoppage time to beat St Joseph’s while Ballyfin led throughout the second half against Rosenallis (admittedly after being six points down at one stage in the first half) and held on for a narrow win.
It will be clash of styles. Ballyroan-Abbey favoured a disciplined defensive game in the win over St Joseph’s while Ballyfin – who blazed a trail to last year’s semi-final – again played a free-flowing game and scored 3-10 in their opener.
Ballyroan-Abbey will look to limit the space afforded to Sean Moore while Ballyfin will probably put David Connolly on the ever-dangerous Diarmuid Whelan.
You can expect it to be a tight one again but Ballyfin may just have the greater overall scoring power.
Laois Shopping Centre SFC – Arles-Kilcruise v Arles-Killeen
In MW Hire O’Moore Park at 4pm
The latest chapter in this rivarly with both Arles sides coming off disappointing defeats and performances in the opening round.
Arles-Killeen lost by 13 points to Graiguecullen in the opening round on the same night that Arles-Kilcruise lost by eight to The Heath.
While the sides have played in seven finals between them in the past 17 seasons – and countless semi-finals – they do both appear to be in decline.
But there are many variables. If the two Kingstons can catch fire, Killeen can get the scores they need. But it’s the same at the other end with Ross Munnelly and David Conway.
Plus, Kilcruise could add in Chris Conway and Colm Munnelly, who didn’t play in the first round.
That might be enough.
Laois Shopping Centre SFC – Courtwood v Killeshin
In MW Hire O’Moore Park at 6pm
This is a game that both sides would rather they weren’t in. Courtwood and Killeshin have both made huge strides in recent seasons but by this evening one of them will be out of the championship and in a relegation playoff.
And at the moment, neither are coming from a position of strength.
After reaching last year’s final, Killeshin seem to be suffering the same way as many previous finalists.
With Stephen Attride and Shane Bolger both out of the country, their defence doesn’t look as strong and midfielder Brian Lowry will be suspended having got a straight red card in their eight-point loss to Emo.
But if conceding 1-16 and losing by eight points to Emo was bad for Killeshin, Courtwood shipped 7-11 to O’Dempsey’s and lost by 12.
The absence of Niall Donoher, Niall Dunne, Rory Doyle and Barry Donnelly has left them understrength and struggling.
This one could be high scoring. Can the Lowrys, Ross Bolger and David Aston outscore Alan Kinsella, Luke Doyle and Danny Luttrell?
Another hard one to call but we’ve seen before how teams can regress from the high of a county final appearance.
Laois Shopping Centre IFC – O’Dempsey’s v Timahoe
In Stradbally at 12 noon
Timahoe were badly beaten by Crettyard in the opening round while O’Dempsey’s were competitive with Portlaoise in their opener.
Timahoe have struggled in this grade but they should have enough for O’Dempsey’s second team and can look forward to a quarter-final appearance without the threat of relegation hanging over them.
Laois Shopping Centre IFC – Crettyard v Portlaoise
In Ratheniska at 6pm
Crettyard were big winners over Timahoe in their first game in the intermediate grade since their championship-winning season of 2005.
Portlaoise’s second team are generally able to go toe-to-toe with the stronger teams in this competition.
But they’ll rarely have a forward of Evan O’Carroll’s calibre to deal with.
Crettyard to book their place in the semi-final.
Laois Shopping Centre JFC ‘A’ – Barrowhouse v Camross
In Barrowhouse at 12noon
A novel encounter and one that sees two Stradbally managers go head-to-head with Billy Delaney in charge of Barrowhouse and Martin Deegan over Camross.
Barrowhouse had too much for Errill in their opening game while Camross produced a fine second-half performance to beat last year’s relegated intermediate side St Joseph’s.
With Camross now out of the senior hurling championship, they could well give the football a right good rattle and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if they were to win this and ensure their place in the knockout stages.
Laois Shopping Centre JFC ‘A’ – Castletown v The Harps
In Castletown at 12noon
Castletown were the story of this championship last year when they went all the way to the final on the back of having won Junior ‘B’ the previous year and Junior ‘C’ the year before.
They were well beaten in the end by Park-Ratheniska in the opening round though were in contention for long spells.
This is The Harps first outing and there’s little form to go on but Castletown might have more credit in the bank.
Laois Ladies SFC – Timahoe v St Conleth’s
In Timahoe at 6pm
Timahoe ladies may have struggled this year in comparison to last season when they got to the final – but they are still in contention to reach the semi-finals and a win here over St Conleth’s would be enough to send them through.
Timahoe won the semi-final meeting between the sides last year but St Conleth’s seem to be the third best side in the county at the moment and have been relatively competitive with both Portlaoise and Sarsfields.
Timahoe battled to a good draw with St Brigid’s during the week but St Conleth’s have to be fancied to win this one and the likelihood is that Timahoe and Brigid’s will have to meet again in a playoff, which will be a de factor quarter-final.
Prediction: St Conleth’s
Portlaoise v St Brigid’s
In Portlaoise at 3pm
Portlaoise have been the team of the championship so far and though they’re assured of their place in the semi-final, they’ll be keen to maintain their 100% record here.
St Brigid’s would go through automatically if they were to cause a shock here – but they’re probably going to have to face Timahoe again in a playoff.