Laois Senior Football Championship – Final
The final of the Laois senior football championship takes place this coming Sunday and it brings together two of the great clubs of Laois football.
However Portlaoise and Graiguecullen are coming into this final with completely different form over the last few years and decades. For while Portlaoise top the roll of honour with 27 titles and are currently aiming for a five in a row, Graiguecullen sit in third place, but have not lifted the title since 1965.
This current set of Graigucullen players have set about bringing the title back for the first time in almost 50 years.
They enjoyed a good start to the championship when beating Portlarlington in round one but came unstuck against Stradbally in round two. Since then, they have really put the shoulder to the wheel and wins over Crettyard and O’Dempseys put them through to a semi-final clash with Arles-Killeen.
In a hard fought semi-final, they came out victorious to win a place in the county final for the first time in 30 years. Ironically, on that particular day, they also came up against Portlaoise but lost by a single point. If they are to have any chance on Sunday, they will need big full-forward Daryl Hayden to be in top form along with Barry Brennan and Ambrose Doran.
Portlaoise are one of those instantly recognisable clubs in the country. On any given year, you can be sure that they will be one of the candidates for the Leinster club championship, once they get the Laois championship out of the way, which they have being doing with increasing regularity in recent years.
This year, it has been business as usual for the green and whites as they enjoyed wins over Ballylinan, and Arles-Kilcruise twice to secure a place in the semi-final. In that semi-final, they came up against old rivals Stradbally and came away with a straightforward eight point victory.
The Portlaoise line reads like a who’s who of Laois football and they will once again be able to call on the likes of Cahir Healy, Kevin Fitzpatrick, Craig Rogers as well as veteran attacker Colm Parkinson. In the semi-final, they brought Australian Rules player, Zach Tuohy in off the bench in the second half and it is expected that he will be available again on Sunday.
It would appear that Graiguecullen have extended themselves in reaching this final and Portlaoise should win this with a bit to spare.