The knock-out stages of the Laois hurling championships get underway today.
In total, there are five games down for decision today – two semi finals, two quarter finals and one relegation play off.
Meanwhile, there are also two Senior ladies football championship quarter finals.
Below, we will preview all of those games:
Ballinakill v Clonaslee
Laois Premier IHC Quarter Final – In O’Moore Park 5.30pm
The first of this evening’s double header in O’Moore Park sees Ballinakill take on Clonaslee.
Ballinakill lost in Round 1 to Ballyfin but wins over Rathdowney-Errill and Slieve Bloom left them second in their group.
Clonaslee defeated Colt-Shanahoe in Round 1 but were well beaten in subsequent games with Camross and Portlaoise.
Their football exploits will take their toll too with Jack Owens already out while Niall Corbet is also a doubt.
Ballinakill should be at full strength and should win this comfortably enough.
Camross v Rathdowney-Errill
Laois Premier IHC Quarter Final – In O’Moore Park 7pm
The second part of tonight’s double header sees the second strings of Camross and Rathdowney-Errill meet.
The two most recent winners of the Intermediate hurling championship have competed well at this grade since their respective promotions.
Camross lost to Portlaoise in their group but wins over Colt-Shanahoe and Clonaslee left them second.
Rathdowney-Errill defeated Slieve Bloom and then lost to Ballyfin and Ballinakill – but qualified on head-to-head.
Both teams have lost several players to their senior team as the competition has progressed.
This should be close, but we’ll give a tentative nod to Camross.
Clough-Ballacolla v The Harps
Laois IHC Semi Final – In Rathdowney at 4.30pm
The IHC finalists for 2021 will be decided today as both semi finals throw in at 4.30pm.
This one sees Clough-Ballacolla face The Harps in Rathdowney.
The Harps won Junior A in 2020 and started this campaign with wins over Mountmellick and Mountrath before losing to Trumera in their final group game.
Clough-Ballacolla saw off Clonad, Park-Ratheniska-Timahoe and then topped their group by defeating Borris-Kilcotton.
Both of these are second teams and have lost several players to their senior teams since the competition began.
But Clough-Ballacolla have greater depth and they should win this.
Trumera v Borris-Kilcotton
Laois IHC Semi Final – In Abbeyleix at 4.30pm
Trumera are going in search of a place in the final for the second successive season and face Borris-Kilcotton in Abbeyleix.
They lost out to Rathdowney-Errill in the summer’s delayed final but have responded well since.
Wins over Mountmellick and Mountrath guaranteed their knock-out spot while they topped the group after defeating The Harps.
Borris-Kilcotton enjoyed wins over Clonad and Park-Ratheniska-Timahoe meaning they were certain of their semi final place before the loss to Clough-Ballacolla.
Trumera seem to be motoring well though and will be favourites to win this.
Mountrath v Park-Ratheniska-Timahoe
Laois IHC Relegation Final – In Colt at 4.30pm
It is yet another final that no teams wants to contest, but somebody will be relegated to Junior ‘A’ after today.
Mountrath were relegated from Premier Intermediate last year and will be determined not to drop down again.
They had men sent off in losses to Trumera and The Harps but when they kept their full compliment on the pitch, they were unfortunate to go down against Mountmellick.
Park-Ratheniska-Timahoe were competitive against Clough-Ballacolla and Borris-Kilcotton but lost and then were out-fought against Clonad to end up here.
With Intermediate football championship semi finals facing a number of players from both Park-Ratheniska and Timahoe next week, they could have done without this game.
Mountrath will be favourites to avoid the drop here.
Laois Ladies Senior Football Championship Quarter Finals
The two quarter finals of the ladies Senior football championship are down for decision this evening.
At 5pm in Ballylinan, St Brigid’s host Timahoe with a place in the semi final at stake.
Timahoe began with a win over St Paul’s but lost Mo Nerney to injury after that and suffered defeats to Sarsfields and St Conleth’s.
St Brigid’s drew with Portlaoise in Round 1 and defeated Shanahoe in Round 2 – but finished second on points difference behind Portlaoise.
They will be looking to make home advantage count and reach the next stage.
The other quarter final is between Sarsfields and Shanahoe in Mountmellick at 5.15pm.
Sarsfields lost to St Conleth’s in Round 1 but recovered to defeat Timahoe and St Paul’s after that to finish second.
Shanahoe, 2020 IFC champions, were competitive against Portlaoise and St Brigid’s but ultimately came out the wrong side and will be up against it here again.
The winners of these games join St Conleth’s and Portlaoise in the semi finals while the losers will go into a relegation semi final.
And the loser of that encounter will take on St Paul’s in the relegation final.