Abbeyleix v Ballypickas
Laois Junior ‘A’ Hurling Championship Final in O’Moore Park at 3.30pm
Two near neighbors will contest the Laois Junior ‘A’ hurling final to decide the holders of the Fr Phelan cup for the next twelve months.
Abbeyleix’s second string face Ballypickas’ first in a clash at 3.30pm.
Abbeyleix won their only Fr Phelan cup in 1976 and although they were relegated from senior on a few occasions they never went back to junior.
Ballypickas became the first holders of the Fr Phelan cup captained by Paddy Wallace in 1963 – beating Portlaoise in the final.
Since then, Ballypickas were champions in 2017 but were relegated by Park-Ratheniska-Timahoe from Intermediate level last year.
Ballypickas are managed by Clonaslee’s Mark Rooney and were drawn in the same group as Abbeyleix for the championship.
They defeated Mountrath 1-16 to 1-8 in Round 1 and then drew 0-18 apiece with this afternoon’s opponents in Round 2.
A 0-12 to 2-5 win over Castletown qualified them for the semi finals where they got the better of Camross – 0-13 to 0-11.
Liam Lalor, Aaron O’Dea, MJ Lalor and Daire McWey have been in fine form and Ballypickas will be hoping for more of the same from them.
This Abbeyleix team have already won silverware – defeating Portlaoise in the Division 3 league final during the summer.
Five of that team – Lawson Obulor, Stephen Thompson, Colm Walsh, Eoin Egan and Mark Cahill have subsequently been lost to senior though.
Lorcan Mahony manages this team and they drew with Castletown and Ballypickas before hammering Mountrath to go through on points difference over Castletown.
They defeated Rathdowney-Errill by 1-19 to 0-10 in the semi final then to reach the decider.
Steven Reilly, Cathal Doyle, Joe Bergin and Sam Quinn have been excellent to date for the Abbeyleix men.
They will be captained by Alan Lynch, a former Junior B Hurler of the year, while William McDonald will lead out the men from the Cobblers Hill.
A tight encounter is anticipated and don’t be surprised if this one goes all the way to extra time.