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Six Talking Points from an incredible night for the Laois footballers in the O’Byrne Cup

Laois senior footballers new
Photo: Paul Dargan

The Laois footballers reached the O’Byrne Cup final for the first time since 2007 following last night’s pulsating win over Kildare.

The game was decided by a penalty shoot out – the first ever for the senior footballers.

Below, we take a look at some of the main talking points from the game:

1 – Man of the match 

For the third game running, there are plenty of candidates in the running here.

Trevor Collins, Alex Mohan and James Kelly were all solid in the full back line with keeper Matthew Byron the hero in the shoot out.

Gareth Dillon put in another really impressive display with some excellent tackles and a very important point.

Sean Moore was electric in attack while Paddy O’Sullivan and Brian Byrne did trojan work up and down the wings.

But we’ve gone for Crettyard’s Evan O’Carroll who was a constant threat throughout the game.

He gave Mike Joyce a torrid time in the first half, scoring two points and being fouled for several frees.

The experienced Mick O’Grady was brought on at half time and the two engaged in a right battle with O’Carroll kicking a fine point off his left boot.

2 – Laois’s remarkable penalty shoot out run continues 

Since penalty shoot-outs became a thing in GAA, Laois have actually been very good at them.

The first came back in 2019 when Portlaoise defeated St Pat’s of Navan in one with the Laois U-20s up next to get the better of Westmeath in a Leinster quarter final.

While last year, the Laois minors reached a Leinster quarter final after defeating Wexford. So while some people don’t like them, it turns out we are rather good at them so perhaps they should stay.

3 – First win over Kildare in ages 

Kildare have had a real hold over Laois and last night was the first time in more than a decade that we had managed to beat them.

Laois have failed to win any of the last eight meetings in league or championship with their best result the drawn championship game in 2015.

Before last night, Laois’s last win in the fixture was in 2010 in Division 2 of the league.

4 – Serious turn around since Wexford game 

Laois shipped six goals against Wexford in Round 1 but since then, they have beaten Meath, Wicklow and Kildare.

They conceded 6-10 in that first match and in the three matches since, they have only conceded 2-28 – just six points more.

The team have seriously tightened up defensively and have performed far better as a result.

5 – Special mention for Mark Barry 

The O’Dempsey’s forward deserves a special mention for his heroics yesterday.

With DCU losing away to St Mary’s of Belfast, Barry was introduced at half time and kicked two points as his side went on to score a last minute penalty and win by one to reach the Sigerson Cup quarter finals.

Barry then hopped in a car and made it all the way down from Belfast to Dr Cullen in time for the game last night.

He didn’t start, but came on with five minutes to go and ended up involved in the shoot-out – scoring one of his two penalties.

6 – What happens next?

Laois’s O’Byrne Cup campaign rolls on as they face into a fifth game in just 14 days.

Dublin will be their opponents on Saturday back in Dr Cullen Park for a 3pm throw in.

Eight days after that, their Division 3 league campaign begins away to Louth in Ardee.

SEE ALSO – Penalty shoot-out drama as Laois down Kildare to reach O’Byrne Cup decider with Dublin

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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.