The return of club matches in Laois means one thing – the return of the LaoisToday Teams of the Week.
Last weekend saw significant football action with plenty of outstanding games from 2020 being player.
The Senior football championship semi finals and Junior ‘B’ final all took place in O’Moore Park while the Division 2 league final was held in the Centre of Excellence.
Our reporters were out and about at all the games and have compiled their selections.
Graiguecullen, Portarlington, Emo, Ballyfin, Rosenallis, Mountmellick, Spink and Colt have representation.
Check out our selection below:
1 – Danny Bolger (Graiguecullen)
Danny Bolger was our man of the match from the first semi final but he actually had fierce competition for this spot from Mountmellick’s Eoghan Keogh who made a hatful of saves in the Division 2 final.
But championship trumps league and Bolger’s three points sees him seal the position.
2 – Cathal Bennett (Portarlington)
The Portarlington full back line which contains the man above, his brother Diarmuid and Alex Mohan is extremely solid.
Cathal defends excellently but is also capable of creating opportunities when he gets the ball in hand – something he did routinely in Saturday evening’s win.
3 – Mark Timmons (Graiguecullen)
One of the best and most consistent club players in Laois for the last decade was at his very best last Friday evening.
Tasked with marking the dangerous Jack Owens, he held him scoreless and managed to convert a crucial goal just before half time himself.
4 – Robbie Pigott (Portarlington)
Comfortable in any of the six positions in defence, Robbie Pigott is improving all the time.
You’d always back him in a one-on-one situation while his composure on the ball is clearly something that he has really worked on in recent years – and it is paying dividends.
5 – Fiachra C-Fennell (Rosenallis)
Rosenallis’ rise through the leagues and championship grades of football in Laois has been breathtaking – with the C-Fennells highly influential in that.
They collected the Division 2 title at the weekend and Fiachra continued his fine form by scoring a great point and popping up all over the field.
6 – Darragh Connolly (Ballyfin)
It was a tough slog for Ballyfin last Saturday as they were well beaten by Portarlington in the end.
But Darragh Connolly gave an exhibition at centre back. His work-rate can never be questioned while he is also very tidy on the ball – using that skill to transition Ballyfin out of defence frequently in the semi final.
7 – Padraig Kirwan (Emo)
Emo came into Friday night full of hope but unfortunately many of their players just didn’t fire.
But one that did was wing back Padraig Kirwan. He has brilliant pace and he used it to perfection to carve Graiguecullen apart at different stages.
8 – Sean Downey (Spink)
After spending the year at full back for Laois, Sean Downey looked like a spring lamb as he bounded all over O’Moore Park from midfield for Spink on Sunday.
He drove his side on every time he got the ball and kicked an excellent point too.
9 – Colm Coss (Mountmellick)
Mountmellick are shaping up well ahead of this year’s Intermediate championship and while they didn’t win the Division 2 final at the weekend, they can take a lot of heart from how they played.
Colm Coss’ 2-2 was very impressive and he has scored well throughout the competition – something his club will be hoping continues.
10 – Brian Byrne (Graiguecullen)
After goalkeeper Bolger, Brian Byrne was right up there in the running for man of the match on Friday evening last.
He kicked two points and was extremely lively. Managed the game extremely well in the second half too with his clever use of possession.
11 – Paul Simms (Spink)
They call him the ‘Gooch’ and the Laois hurling sub goalkeeper demonstrated just why on Sunday.
His tally of eight points – four frees and four from play – was ultimately the difference in the end in a memorable day for his club.
12 – Niall Mullen (Mountmellick)
Niall Mullen has led the line for the best part of the last decade for Mountmellick and he has continued that form so far this year.
He scored 1-8 in the league final and while it wasn’t enough for glory, he can be very happy with his personal performance.
13 – Brian Fitzpatrick (Rosenallis)
Fondly known as ‘Beano’ by the Rosenallis supporters – Brian Fitzpatrick rarely lets his team down and is a very honest player.
He was at his best in the league final – scoring 2-1 from playing and being heavily involved in much of their good attacking play.
14 – Colm Murphy (Portarlington)
Colm Murphy is Portarlington’s talisman and the likely battle between him and Mark Timmons on Sunday in the final is already exciting to think about.
He scored 1-4 in the semi final last weekend and alongside his brother David, form a deadly duo that are going to take some stopping.
15 – Ivan Ryan (Colt)
It is rare that a Junior ‘C’ footballer will make our list but this man simply had to be included.
Last week, Colt, who have lost the last three finals at this level, went in search of glory on the fourth time of asking and thumped Borris-In-Ossory by 9-15 to 0-0 in Round 1.
Ivan Ryan played a huge role in that win – scoring six goals!