Portarlington lead the way on the LaoisToday 2021 senior club football team of the year 11 representatives.
Their back-to-back success, where they romped to glory in the Laois championship, sees them dominate the selection with their goalkeeper, four backs, both midfielders and four forwards all included.
Their 11 selections is two more than the nine they got on the 2020 team and indeed the ones that miss out – Diarmuid Bennett, Stuart Mulpeter, Rioghan Murphy and David Murphy all had very strong claims too.
The team of the year was selected on performances in the Laois club championship of 2021 – performances in the 2020 games played in 2021 or Portarlington’s games in Leinster weren’t counted.
As well as the 11 Portarlington players, there is also one selection each for beaten finalists Portlaoise, O’Dempsey’s, Emo and Ballyfin
Check it all out below:
1 – Scott Osbourne (Portarlington)
Scott Osbourne is one of Portarlington’s most important players and he went through the entire championship without conceding a goal.
His kick-outs, particularly the short ones, give the platform to start attacks and he is capable of making saves when required.
2 – Cathal Bennett (Portarlington)
Quickly establishing himself as one of the best defenders in the county at just 20-years-old, Cathal Bennett is an exciting talent.
He averages at least one block per game, reads play exceptionally and is a nightmare for any attacker because he never leaves their side.
3 – Ben Dempsey (Portlaoise)
As debut seasons go, it could not have gone much better for 18-year-old Ben Dempsey.
He stepped up to adult football seamlessly and started every game for Portlaoise – typically being tasked with marking the most dangerous forwards on the opposition team and always excelling.
4 – Alex Mohan (Portarlington)
Rounding out our youthful looking full back line in 21-year-old Alex Mohan.
Like Cathal Bennett opposite him, Mohan goes about his work in a no nonsense matter. A proper corner back with a hugely exciting career ahead of him.
5 – Sean Greene (Emo)
The sole representative from defeated semi finalists Emo is 19-year-old Sean Greene.
He rotated between half back and midfield for his side and always stood out. Once again, he is another extremely promising young player.
6 – Robbie Pigott (Portarlington)
A hugely important part of the Portarlington team that can fill any of the defensive roles and in midfield if needs be.
A sign of his consistency is that this is the fourth time in five years that he has been selected on the LaoisToday Team of the Year.
7 – Paddy O’Sullivan (Portarlington)
After missing the 2020 campaign through a combination of service with the Defence Forces and injury, Paddy O’Sullivan stepped into the shoes of Jason Moore and continued his fine form.
Man of the match in the county final win over Portlaoise, he is a real leader on this team now.
8 – Keith Bracken (Portarlington)
Will go down in the record books as the man who captained Port to back-to-back county final wins in the space of three months.
A tireless worker, always an option for kickouts, very good on the ball and brought a great level of consistency to his performances in the 2021 championship.
9 – Sean Byrne (Portarlington)
A very promising underage player and captain of the minors in 2016, we are starting to see the very best of Sean Byrne.
A real physical presence in midfield, Byrne has added scores to his game this year and that has elevated him to a whole new level.
10 – Adam Ryan (Portarlington)
This man’s workrate is simply off the charts as he clocks up serious kilometres whenever he takes to the field.
Always handy for a few scores, he is the complete modern wing forward and integral to Portarlington’s success.
11 – Ronan Coffey (Portarlington)
A string of fine performances from centre forward for Portarlington sees former Laois U-20 captain Ronan Coffey named here.
He kick passing into Port’s dangerous full forward line is integral to how his team plays and he also chips in with plenty of scores.
12 – Mark Barry (O’Dempsey’s)
Barry and O’Dempsey’s only played three games in this year’s championship but he hit 1-18 in those games and no player in the championship averaged more from play.
1-5 of his 1-6 against Emo in the opening round was from play and he followed that up with 0-6 against Rosenallis (two from play) and 0-6 (five from play, all in normal time) against Portlaoise in the quarter-final.
13 – Jake Foster (Portarlington)
After Colm Murphy, he was Portarlington’s top scorer with 0-24 and was only overtaken by Murphy in the final.
Excellent from frees and play, he shot 0-6 against Ballyfin in the opening 2021 game and followed up with tallies of 0-5, 0-5, 0-3 and 0-5 against Courtwood, Stradbally, Emo and Portlaoise.
14 – Colm Murphy (Portarlington)
The third year in a row for Murphy to be included in our Team of the Year as he finished the championship with 2-19 in total, 2-10 of it from play and both of the goals in the final against Portlaoise.
He followed that up with hugely impressive performances in the Leinster club and at this moment is the top forward in the county.
15 – Sean Moore (Ballyfin)
Moore is included in our Team of the Year for the third year running despite Ballyfin ending up in a relegation playoff. He scored 3-21 in three games, which made him the championship’s joint top scorer despite Ballyfin’s shortened campaign.
Ballyfin only lost to champions Portarlington by three points, finalists Portlaoise by two and then easily beat The Heath in the relegation semi-final. Moore hit 0-9 against Port, 1-6 against Portlaoise and 2-8 against The Heath.