The GAA award winners for the 2020 and 2021 seasons in Laois have been announced.
As Covid-19 cancelled last year’s event, 2020 and 2021 were combined on this occasion.
It had been planned that these would take place in the Midlands Park Hotel but the Covid-19 situation meant they went virtual, with the ceremony streamed on Laois GAA’s Facebook page.
A total of 18 clubs were represented among the winners – with Portarlington’s three topping the pile.
Park-Ratheniska, Ballyroan-Abbey, Clough-Ballacolla, Camross, The Harps and Abbeyleix all had two each.
While Kilcavan, Portlaoise, Graiguecullen, Ballinakill, Trumera, Ballypickas, Rathdowney-Errill, Clonaslee, St Brigid’s, St Conleth’s and Ballyfin all represented.
The award winners were chosen by a combination of the media and Laois GAA officials.
LaoisToday, Leinster Express, Laois Nationalist, Midlands 103, Laois GAA Chairman Peter O’Neill, Vice-Chairman Tom Clear, PRO Paul Dargan and Laois TV’s Pat O’Sullivan were all on the selection committee.
Check out all of the winners below:
2021 Football and Hurling
Senior Football – Jake Foster (Portarlington)
The tricky corner forward was Portarlington’s most consistent player in the 2021 season.
Scoring in every game, he has a wand of a left boot and is generally flawless from frees too.
Intermediate Football – Podge Dunne (Park-Ratheniska)
Park-Ratheniska’s remarkable year has continued into Leinster and this man has been integral.
Podge Dunne has become recognised as one of the best midfielders in the county now and is still a very young player.
Junior Football – James McWey (Ballyroan-Abbey)
Any player who scores nine points in a county final is good and James McWey put up those numbers all year for Ballyroan-Abbey.
Will surely make the step up to senior next year and is just one on the talented production line in the club.
Minor Football – Jack Byrne (Graiguecullen)
Graiguecullen claimed minor glory this year and Jack Byrne drove them to it all season.
He was immense in the semi final against Portlaoise and maintained that in the final win over Na Fianna Og.
Senior Hurling – Willie Dunphy (Clough-Ballacolla)
A number of Clough-Ballacolla lads to choose from here but Willie Dunphy deservedly gets the nod.
As dangerous as forward as you will find, he always comes up with important scores for his team.
Premier Intermediate Hurling – Cha Dwyer (Ballinakill)
Ballinakill’s life at this level didn’t get off to the greatest start as they were beaten by Ballyfin – but they didn’t lose again after that.
Cha Dwyer was routinely their main man for scores throughout the championship and scored some excellent goals.
Intermediate Hurling – Niall Sinnott (Trumera)
After losing the delayed 2020 final in the summer, Trumera’s response was emphatic.
Niall Sinnott was excellent for them all year and his free taking ability was worth a lot of points to his side.
Junior Hurling – Mike McKeogh (Ballypickas)
A Tipperay man, Mike McKeogh has proved to be an excellent piece of transfer business for Ballypickas.
Popped up with crucial scores in the group phase and carried that form into the final too.
Minor Hurling – Cathal Cuddy (Camross)
A young man with a really bright future ahead of him, Cathal Cuddy was a rock for Camross.
The captain stepped up when they were under the cosh in the final against Abbeyleix too – something he did all year.
2020 Football and Hurling
Senior Football – Jason Moore (Portarlington)
The 2020 final was only played in August and it was a bittersweet one for this man as he would depart with the Defence Forces soon after.
But he was excellent in the absence of Paddy O’Sullivan and the way he attacked from wing back transformed his team.
Intermediate Football – Niall Corbet (Clonaslee)
After a year spent playing in goals for Laois, Niall Corbet showed how good he is outfield fro Clonaslee.
He led them up to senior in 2020 and then helped keep them there in 2021.
Junior Football – Kieran Delaney (Park-Ratheniska)
Park-Ratheniska are senior now but it wasn’t that long ago that they were scraping over the likes of Kilcavan and Ballyroan-Abbey in Junior A.
Kieran Delaney was crucial in those games and also in the final against Portlaoise.
Minor Football – Shaun Fitzpatrick (Ballyroan-Abbey)
With the way he made such an impact at senior level, it is hard to believe that Shaun Fitzpatrick was only minor last year.
But he was and would end the year as a double A champion in football and hurling.
Senior Hurling – Stephen Maher (Clough-Ballacolla)
The highest scoring forward in the championship for his club for the last two years, Maher’s numbers are off the charts.
He is Clough-Ballacolla’s captain and tallisman.
Premier Intermediate Hurling – Conor Dunne (The Harps)
The Harps finally broke their duck and won the delayed 2020 Premier IHC final against Portlaoise in the summer.
Conor Dunne hurled brilliantly for them throughout and is very deserving of this award.
Intermediate Hurling – Ray Bowe (Rathdowney-Errill)
The flying Ray Bowe is up next and he has been one of the best players on Rathdowney-Errill’s second team for a number of years.
His scoring power from wing forward sets him apart from all the rest.
Junior Hurling – Ross Young (The Harps)
After losing the 2019 final, The Harps finally made the step up in 2020.
Ross Young’s ability from frees was integral to that – and he helped lead them to the semi finals of the IHC the following year.
Minor Hurling – Lawson Obulor (Abbeyleix)
Like Fitzpatrick, it is hard to believe that Obulor was only minor last year.
But he captained Abbeyleix to glory and then went straight on to excel at senior level.
Laois Player of the Year – Jane Moore (St Brigid’s)
After a few disappointing years, Laois restored some pride this year and won Division 3.
Jane Moore excelled at midfield all season with her rampaging runs causing defences across the country plenty of problems.
Senior – Alannah Havill (St Conleth’s)
There was history for St Conleth’s this year as they won the senior championship for the first time in their history.
Alannah Havill drove her team on from the forward line and amassed scores in every game that she played.
Intermediate – Andrea Moran (Ballyroan)
Alongside Faye McEvoy, Andrea Moran formed part of a formidable partnership in midfield for Ballyroan.
This could not be toppled as Ballyroan cruised to IFC glory for the first time.
Junior – Edel Finn (Ballyfin)
A powerful full forward, Edel Finn was immense for Ballyfin this year.
She scored two crucial goals in the Junior final win over The Heath which ended years of heartache.
Intermediate Player of the Year – Aedin Lowry (Camross)
As goalkeepers go, you will struggle to find one better than Aedin Lowry.
Her puck-outs are top class while her shot-stopping is also a crucial feature of her play.
Scor – Kilcavan
At the Air Dome in Bekan, Claremorris, members of Kilcavan took home the All-Ireland title in instrumental music – Ceol Uirlise discipline.
The team of Sophie Ryan, Alain Carroll, Noel Stapleton, Senan Moran and Brian Ryan did club, county and province proud.
Referee 2020/2021 – Clifford Ward (Portarlington)
One of the top referees in the county at present, Clifford Ward has been named as such for this year.
The Portarlington native may have to wait some time to officiate at the county final again as his club continue to dominate!
Hall of Fame – Tom Prendergast (Portlaoise)
A beautifully balanced ball-carrier, the high-point of his Laois career came in 1986 when they won the League.
Tom ‘Curly’ Prendergast Prendergast won an All-Ireland Senior Club Football Championship medal with his club Portlaoise in 1983 and seven Laois Senior Football Championship medals.
Service to Laois GAA – Mick Carroll (Abbeyleix)
As a player, Mick Carroll represented Laois at all levels and he continued his service long after he played.
He served as County Secretary for 20 years and was also Laois’s first PRO. He only recently stepped away from the executive and his efforts have been marked by Peter O’Neill.