Sixteen young players to watch out for in the senior football championship

first_img Twitter Facebook Facebook Community Five Laois monuments to receive almost €200,000 in government funding The most important competition in club football in Laois gets underway this week as the senior championship begins.There are a total of eight games to look forward to this week – one tonight, one on Thursday, two on Saturday and four on Sunday.The action begins tonight with a repeat of last year’s relegation semi final with 2016 champions Stradbally facing Arles-Kilcruise.Portlaoise have won 11 of the last 12 championships and will once again start as overwhelming favourites.Malachy McNulty’s men had a large contingent in with Laois this year too so that can only make them stronger. ARLES-KILCRUISE – Cialann MulhallThe men from Arles-Kilcruise are noted as an ageing side but they do have some young guns in their arsenal.Mikey Wall, Mark Wall, Caomhann Brennan and Ciarán Lawlor are amongst them but we’ve given the nod to Cialann Mulhall.This will be his second championship campaign for Kilcruise and this defender will prove a tough customer for any attacker.ARLES-KILLEEN – Evan McDonaldArles-Killeen bowed out in the quarter final stage last year against Portarlington.They have a new manager this year in Gay Campbell and will hope to get back to the semi final at least.And we’ve gone for forward Evan McDonald as one to watch. A very physical young man who is well capable of scoring.BALLYFIN GAELS – Max ConnollyBallyfin Gaels go into the senior championship as one of the favourites for relegation for the third year on the trot.They have been relegated to Division 3 in the league but will have the Slieve Bloom lads available to them now.They have a number of impressive young players like David Connolly and Darragh Connolly but we’ve gone for Max Connolly. He can operate in defence or attack and will be a valuable asset.BALLYLINAN – Ciaran Fennessy Ballylinan surprised everyone last year when they went all the way to the senior final before losing to Portlaoise.They have a number of young players who established themselves last year like Cathail Dunne, Kevin Byrne and Seamus Lacey.But one young man who should nail down a place this year is Ciaran Fennessy. Another versatile player who can operate in any line on the field where he running ability will be useful.BALLYROAN-ABBEY – John RogersBallyroan-Abbey won Division 1B a few weeks ago and this young man was very impressive at wing forward.John Rogers played at U-17 and minor level for Laois last year in midfield and was very impressive.He has now graduated to the senior ranks and looks set to be a big player for his club this year.CLONASLEE-ST MANMAN’S GAELS – Ryan KilroeThe Clonaslee-St Manman’s team who won the U-17 B HC last yearClonaslee-St Manman’s Gaels have joined up with Annanough once again for a second year.They defeated Mountmellick Gaels in a relegation semi final last year to stay up for another year and will be hoping to push on from there.One young man who we expect to feature for them is Ryan Kilroe. A dual star, Kilroe is pacey and in the wide open spaces of O’Moore Park, he will cause problems.CRETTYARD GAELS – Michael NashCrettyard struggled through the league once again this year before eventually being relegated from Division 1B.They will get a few of the Spink lads to help their cause now.Evan O’Carroll and Cormac Murphy will carry the scoring mantle for the side but expect the impressive Michael Nash to chip in when required.EMO – Jack OwensEmo are back in the senior ranks after spending one year away where they bagged an intermediate title.They have added a number of young players to their side but the pick of them is probably Jack Owens.He played for Laois at minor and U-17 level last year and has also been capped at international level for the Republic of Ireland in the past. Serious power and pace.GRAIGUECULLEN – Brian ByrneBrian Byrne played in the Leinster U-21 semi final for Laois in 2017Graiguecullen reached the semi final last year where they bowed out against Portlaoise.Padraig Clancy’s Barrowsiders had young stars in the form of Paul Mulready and Ross Hennessy excel in recent years.However, Brian Byrne played very well for the Laois U-21s in 2017 and he will be a big player for his club this year.KILLESHIN – Michael DoranKilleshin have an incredibly low-age profile with the majority of their team aged below 25.Players like Shane Bolger, Evan Lowry and Adam Deering have progressed well this year.But one young man, who suffered a number of injuries as a juvenile, is back in full fitness and can add a new dimension to the attack. Michael Doran is the one we have gone for here.O’DEMPSEY’S – Mark BarryMark Barry celebrates with his family and girlfriend following O’Dempsey’s Division 1A winO’Dempsey’s collected their second successive Division 1A league title a couple of weeks ago and are building a nice squad.They have added young players like Dan McCormack, Tom Kelly and Barry Howlin to their ranks.But the gem in the pack is undoubtedly Mark Barry. Excelled for Laois at U-17 and minor level last year and was on fire in the league final win over St Joseph’s. A young man with a very bright future.PORTARLINGTON – Colin SlevinPortarlington reached their first semi since 2002 last year and they have added a serious amount of talent to their side this year.Ronan Coffey, Alex Mohan and Adam Kirwan are just some of the players who have graduated from juvenile level and have serious talent.But we’ve gone for Colin Slevin who was Laois U-17 captain last year. Small in stature but tough as nails and well capable of scoring too.PORTLAOISE – Gary SaundersReigning county champions Portlaoise are overwhelming favourites to collect their 12th title from the last 13 years.The Town have an ocean of talent at their disposal and young players like Jason Maher and Ronan McEvoy will be vying for selection.But the one we reckon will get in first is Gary Saunders. He played in the full back line throughout the league and was very impressive. Represented Laois at minor and U-17 level last year too.ST JOSEPH’S – Mikie DempseySt Joseph’s go into this championship off the back of yet another league final defeat.They were disappointing last year and exited at the quarter final stage against Graiguecullen.They went on to win the junior championship though and one of the players who excelled there, Mikie Dempsey, should be well equipped to do the same for the senior team now.STRADBALLY – Jack LangtonStradbally ended Portlaoise’s dominance in 2016 but were very disappointing last year and ended up in the relegation playoff.They have brought through the likes of Jack Deegan, Justin Lalor and Liam Clancy in recent years but we’ve gone for Jack Langton this year.He can play in defence and has also operated as a sweeper during the league too.THE HEATH – PJ DalyHe excelled for Colt Gaels and Clonad in the hurling last week, and we reckon PJ Daly will do it again for The Heath this week.They have added real talent to their ranks in the form of Neil Keane, Liam Kinsella and Dylan Kavanagh this year.But Daly gets the nod again and should be a key figure.SEE ALSO – In Pictures: Hurling takes hold in Camross and Clonad Cúl Camps By Alan Hartnett – 25th July 2018 Ten Laois based players named on Leinster rugby U-18 girls squad Pinterest Previous articleAll of the recent golf results from around the clubsNext articleClement Herron Featured Properties: Five homes in Laois currently on the market Alan HartnettStradbally 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. WhatsApp Home Sport GAA Sixteen young players to watch out for in the senior football championship SportGAAGaelic Football RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Charlie Flanagan on Electric Picnic: ‘I’d ask organisers to consult with community leaders’ Pinterest TAGSLaois SFC Rugby Of the chasing pack, O’Dempsey’s, Portarlington, The Heath and maybe Graiguecullen look the best of the rest.All of the clubs involved have a number of impressive young players though who we reckon will make a mark this year.And we have picked out one from each club below: Community WhatsApp Twitter Sixteen young players to watch out for in the senior football championshiplast_img read more