Excitement is building in one area of Laois as their heroes prepare to take to Croke Park this weekend.
Clough-Ballacolla face Ballyhale Shamrocks of Kilkenny in the Leinster club hurling final on Sunday.
It has been a remarkable time for the area and we headed out to visit both schools today.
Our first stop saw us arrive at St Piux X National School in Ballacolla.
There are 35 pupils here under principal Aidan Keenaghan. The school has two teachers and a shared SET.
Aidan said: “Eight members of the panel for Sunday are past pupils as well as one of the selectors and the Chairperson.
“Some children and cousins of the players are currently attending the school. Joey Hennessey from Loughmore-Castleiney, who had great success in Tipperary recently, is currently teaching in the school.
“We have a big crossover with the Camogie club also and several parents and past pupils play Camogie. The Camogie club has teams ranging from U-6 to Junior level and the men’s team are a great inspiration to these young girls also.
“Hopefully in years to come the Camogie team will be performing to the same level. Both girls and boys play hurling in the school and we won our Cumann na mBunscol hurling division in the last two years it was played.
“We have a great interest in music in the school also and all of the children are undertaking ukulele lessons while they also learn tin whistle, recorder and the flute – and also how to read music.
“We will be opening our enrollments for next year on the 18th of January and all information on this will be on the website in early January.”
We then ventured on to Clough National School where principal Martin Carroll has 61 children enrolled.
There are five teachers with two shared SETs across three classrooms.
They had a Christmas jumper day on Thursday where they recorded their own song that you can listen to that below.
Clough NS is a bright, inclusive, mixed country school with facilities including modern technology and storage in every classroom, a playing field, large school yard, school hall, and outdoor basketball court.
Their students enjoy the multiple yearly events such as Write-a-Book, Scríobh Leabhar, Spelling Bee, School Choir, Cumann na mBunscol and exposure to various other sports along with promoting initiatives like Active Schools and Green Schools.
Check out some great pictures below:
CLOUGH NATIONAL SCHOOL
ST PIUS X NATIONAL SCHOOL BALLACOLLA