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Collegiality vanishes as teachers prepare to head into battle on the GAA field

Portlaoise College teachers John Murphy, Colm Murphy, Chris Glesson, Darren Maher and Matthew Whelan preparing for a big week

In a record-breaking year, five of the teaching staff at Portlaoise College are still standing at the business end of the Laois hurling and football championships.

First into war goes Crettyard’s Mr John Murphy, when on Saturday night the side from the south-east of the county start as favourites in the intermediate championship final against the men from the foothills of the Slieve Bloom Mountains, Clonaslee.

With his nephew Cormac captaining the side and operating at midfield this year, Crettyard have momentum and Mr Murphy is hoping to make a swift return to the senior championship.

The school’s newest teacher Mr Colm Murphy is Laois and Portarlington’s star full-forward.

After blowing this year’s senior championship wide open with their defeat of perennial winners Portlaoise, he leads his side’s charge against neighbours O’Dempseys in the second of Sunday’s quarter-finals at O’Moore Park.

Mr Murphy will be hoping his side can bring the Jack Delaney Cup back to McCann Park for the first time since 2001.

Portarlington’s battle with O’Dempsey’s will be followed by Mr Chris Gleeson’s Emo, who have the task of eliminating Portlaoise from the championship.

After their impressive victory over last year’s finalists Killeshin in round one, they were equally impressive in their dismissal of O’Dempsey’s last time out.

Mr Gleeson will be hoping his side can go one better than their 2015 final defeat against ‘The Town’.

They say the best things are left until last and that certainly holds for the mouth-watering prospect that is the 2020 Laois Senior Hurling Championship final.

Two members of the Geography Department will line up at opposite ends of the pitch when Borris-Kilcotton and Clough Ballacolla clash on Saturday, October 10.

The totemic figures of Mr Matthew Whelan and Mr Darren Maher, the former a current and the latter a former Laois stalwart, man the last lines of defence for their respective sides.

Will it be Clough-Ballacolla’s first win since 2015 or Borris-Kilcotton’s first since 2016 having been the bridesmaid in last year’s decider?

One thing is certain, the geography department hasn’t been a victim of climate warming given the frosty atmosphere in the corridors this week.

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