Home Sport GAA Six Talking Points as Laois win over Wicklow sets up O’Byrne Cup...

Six Talking Points as Laois win over Wicklow sets up O’Byrne Cup semi with neighbours Kildare

Paul Kingston
Photo: Paul Dargan

The Laois senior footballers made it two wins in four days yesterday when they got the better of Wicklow in Crettyard.

Following Wednesday’s win over Meath, a much-changed Laois outfit appeared yesterday but produced a similar performance.

A six point win was good enough to make Laois the group winners and below we will discuss the main talking points from the game.

1 – Man of the Match 

Like on Wednesday evening, there are a number of players in contention here.

Keeper Matthew Byron made two very important saves in the second half and his kick-outs were excellent throughout – showing the depth we have as a county in that position.

Collins Ugochuckwu was on the dangerous Kevin Quinn, who scored 1-5 against Wexford, and held him to just two points – barely leaving his side for the entire game.

While Portarlington’s Alex Mohan was a stand-out once again – making a series of successful tackles and interception during the game.

Cathal Fennessy and Alan Farrell were prominent on the half back in their first starts of the year.

But we’ve gone for centre forward Paul Kingston. Making his second successive start, the Arles-Killeen man was a real target for winning ball on the half forward line.

He used it intelligently throughout and also kicked two fine points in a very composed performance.

2 – 34 players used in three matches

While winning games is nice, the most important thing that the O’Byrne Cup can be used for is giving players game time.

And the Laois management have certainly done that with 34 players wearing the jersey over the three games so far.

Matthew Byron, Alan Farrell, Danny O’Reilly and Cian Doyle joined the party today with the first two playing the full 70 minutes.

The new management will now have a better idea of exactly what is at their disposal for the year ahead.

3 – Battle for the number 1 jersey hots up

Laois started their third different keeper in three games and like both Niall Corbet and Danny Bolger before him, Matthew Byron did very well.

The aforementioned Corbet and Bolger have picked up knocks in the games and are unlikely to be fit for Wednesday evening’s semi final.

That should give Byron another opportunity to feature and it will be very interesting to see who gets the nod for the first league game at the end of the month.

4 – Impact from the bench 

Once again, Laois used their full allocation of substitutes with all ten outfield players featuring.

All made a positive impact with Evan O’Carroll and Sean Moore notching goals while Mark Barry slotted a brace of points.

With the nature of football now, it has become a 21-man game and Laois will need consistent impact like that from their subs throughout the season.

5 – Busy times for Mark Barry 

O’Dempsey’s forward Mark Barry is an extremely busy footballer at present between Laois and college commitments.

He has featured in four games in the last seven days for Laois and DCU. The two points he managed in ten minutes from the bench yesterday is the same tally that he got in 20 minutes with DCU last Tuesday.

Either side of that game, he scored three points in one half of football against Wexford and another four against Meath.

This week looks similarly hectic as his DCU are set to face St Mary’s of Belfast on Wednesday afternoon before the O’Byrne Cup semi final later that night.

6 – What happens next? 

Laois’s O’Byrne Cup campaign continues on Wednesday evening at 7.30pm in the semi final against Kildare.

The venue for that game has yet to be confirmed but the rumours are that it will be in Dr Cullen Park in Carlow.

If Laois win, they will face Dublin in the final on Saturday January 22.

Regardless, they will begin their Division 3 league campaign away to Louth on Sunday January 30.

SEE ALSO – O’Carroll and Moore goals give Laois O’Byrne Cup semi chance following Wicklow win

Previous articleWalsh Cup duty brings Laois to Callan for first of three Kilkenny clashes in 2022
Next article#LoveLaois: Grantstown Lake – a lovely, gentle loop between Ballacolla and Rathdowney
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.