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A thriller in store as Sarsfields and St Conleth’s set to clash in Ladies Senior final

Laois ladies O'Moore Park

Sarsfields v St Conleth’s
In O’Moore Park at 7pm

History is on the line as Sarsfields and St Conleth’s meet in a novel Laois Senior Ladies championship final tonight.

For St Conleth’s, this is the first ever final for the team that takes in players from Courtwood, Portarlington, O’Dempsey’s and Gracefield.

Sarsfields, who are based in Mountmellick, have dominated the sport in Laois for the best part of the last two decades.

They have appeared in every single final since 2006 and after winning their first in 2008, they now have a total of nine.

They were going for eight in a row last year until Portlaoise stopped them in their tracks in the final.

With seven senior teams this year, the competition was split into two groups.

Group A had four teams and Group B had three – with the top team advancing to the semi finals, second and third to quarter finals and fourth in Group A heading straight to the relegation final.

St Conleth’s and Sarsfields found themselves in Group A where they both defeated St Paul’s and Timahoe.

The game between them was a cracker with St Conleth’s stating their intention for the year by winning 1-12 to 0-12.

That meant Sarsfields had to head to the quarter finals where they easily accounted for Shanahoe.

Their semi final then saw them pitted against Portlaoise – the side who had ended their charge last year.

But despite a late comeback, Sarsfields done enough to win by 1-14 to 1-13 and avenge last season’s disappointment.

On the other side, St Brigid’s came through their quarter final with Timahoe to face St Conleth’s.

This was a real humdinger that went all the way to extra time where St Conleth’s timed their run to win 2-14 to 3-8 in the end.

St Conleth’s are managed by O’Dempsey’s native Noel Whelehan and he has an impressive backroom team around him.

Former Laois ladies footballer Aileen Carroll (nee Ahern) former Offaly footballer Vinny Byrne and former Laois footballer Peter O’Leary are all on board as selectors.

Pat O’Sullivan and James Kelly – the duo who won All-Ireland Minor ‘B’ success with Laois in 2013 – took over the team this year.

Catherine Shelly, Emmett Conroy and Damian Shelly are their selectors while the liaison officer is Carol Hughes.

Sarsfields are stacked with experience as Mags McEvoy, Clare Conlon, Jenny McEvoy, Alison McEvoy, Rachel Williams and Rosemarie Bermingham are all aiming to win their tenth Laois title.

Gráinne Lalor, Lauren Kearney and Leah Tarpey add youth while Laura Marie Maher is a really dangerous forward.

St Conleth’s had four representatives with Laois this year – Eva Galvin, Aoife Kirrane, Alannah Havill and Aimee Kelly – and they all excelled for the county.

Claire Fox, Sarah Walsh, Maria Byrne and Sinead Cullen are also exciting players.

Sarsfields will be favourites but this one should be a close call.

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.