Insights and predictions as the senior football championship kicks off in Laois
Courtwood v Portlaoise – Thursday September 2, O’Moore Park 7:45 p.m.
The championship starts Thursday with Portlaoise and Courtwood. Portlaoise’s men will be the favorites, but with Eddie Kinsella back at the helm of Courtwood and a nice pinch of talent on board, they could be ready to take the plunge. good league campaign reaching the final only to be beaten by the county champions – Portarlington.
Emo v O’Dempsey’s – Friday September 3, O’Moore Park 7:45 am
One of the most successful games of the round. On paper, there doesn’t seem to be much between the teams and while the league form comes with a health warning, Emo has fared much better in building the championship.
Both sides have reported good health apart from a few minor concerns and it’s a game one would expect to see again in the melting pot in the final stages.
Emo has the advantage of having played a 2020 semi-final earlier in August and could be a bit more specific, but O’Dempsey is a seasoned group and will be up for battle.
Ballyfin v Portarlington – Saturday September 4, O’Moore Park 3 p.m.
These teams met in the 2020 semi-finals a few weeks ago and it was a convincing victory for Portarlington. Can Ballyfin close the gap in such a short window? Both are champions of their respective leagues, with Port winning the Division One title and Ballyfin winning the Division Three league, which you would expect them to do.
A straight red card to James Finn in that semi a few weeks ago means he misses the game and that makes Ballyfin’s task all the more difficult.
The Heath v Graigucullen – Saturday September 4th, O’Moore Park 5pm
Another massive battle in the store and one where you wouldn’t be surprised if either won. Graigue was disappointing in the County’s final loss to Portarlington when only full-back Mark Timmons scored from the game, but with such a short turnaround it could be to their advantage as they seek to turn things around.
The Heaths have had their injury worries for the past few weeks, including captain Denis Booth, but they seemed to have cleared up and would imagine their chances of causing a mini upheaval.
Both strong defensively, it will be a question of who can have that little extra class up front.
Ballyroan Abbey v Killeshin – Saturday September 4th, O’Moore Park 7pm
Ballyroan-Abbey is one of the teams that will be looking to break out of the chasing pack and be a real contender.
They’ve made hay at the underage level in recent years, but also have a strong cohort of more experienced players to call on.
Killeshin looks riddled with injuries with David McDermott, Evan Lowry, Eoin Lowry, Shane Bolger, Michael Doran, Conor Heffernan, Owen Scully all on the treatment table while Adam Deering is also suspended for the game.
Getting in the shape and form of Diarmuid Whelan will be key for Ballyroan, especially if he wants to rise through the ranks in 2021.
Rosenallis v Ballylinan – Sunday September 5th, O’Moore Park 2pm
Another close game, 50/50 with little chance of separating them. Ballylinan showed last year that they can mix him with the best in the county while Rosenallis did well to solidify his senior status after being promoted the previous year.
The Fennell’s and John O’Loughlin are great players for Rosenallis while Gary Walsh and Alan Farrell will look to set the tone for Ballylinan’s men.
Stradbally v Arles Killeen – Sunday September 5th, O’Moore Park 4pm
Two teams that survived last year’s championship rather than impressed, but one year brings a new challenge and can either come back near the top of the pile?
Colm Begley is still an integral part of Stradbally’s setup while Eoin Buggie is captain this year and will look to lead from forward after his experience in Inter County earlier this year.
The Kingston brothers are still Killeen’s main men and how Stradbally deals with Donie and Paul will have a big part to play in the outcome of the match.
Stradbally just might have that biggest overall scoring threat and can pass.
Clonaslee v St Joseph’s – Sunday September 5th, O’Moore Park 6pm
Clonaslee rose through the senior ranks after his impressive victory over Crettyard in last year’s intermediate final and will be keen on retaining his senior status, but also advancing in the championship and hitting while the iron is hot.
Laois goalkeeper Niall Corbet is likely to feature on the pitch and is a precise striker and the newly promoted men will prove difficult to resolve.
St Joseph’s have been a strong senior team in recent years and with Michael Dempsey at the helm they will be well prepared. James Kelly is a great defender as they have a lot of pace all over the pitch.
Another loved one expected.