CUP action is the main focus of attention this weekend in the CCFL and a number of Laois teams will be hoping to have their names in the hat when the draws are made for the next rounds. Five Laois teams are in action in the Paddy Cotter Cup and all fivehave very good chances of advancing.
In Round 1, Stradbally make the trip to Ferbane in Offaly to face Gallen Utd. Both teams are propping up their respective divisions, Gallen the Senior Division and Stradbally the Premier Division, so this game will be a welcome distraction from the weekly grind of the league.
Gallen have just one point from 15 games and already doomed to relegation from the top flight next season. Stradbally still have a chance of dragging themselves out the dropzone and a win this Sunday would give them a timely confidence boost. It is a very hard game to predict the outcome but Stradbally will be fancying their chances of making the next round.
The other three Laois teams are already in Round 2 of the Paddy Cotter Cup with all three having the advantage of a home draw.
Senior Division side Arlington welcome Birr Town to Castle Park and the home side will go in as favourites against a Birr side mid-table in the Premier Division.
Rosenallis and Mullingar Town are very much in the midst of the relegation battle in the Premier Division but this Sunday they go head to head in the cup. There is little to chose between them in terms of league positions but Rosenallis received a massive confidence boost last weekend with a 5-3 win away to Senior Division side Clara in the CCFL Cup. If they can recapture that form this Sunday, they should be in the hunt in the league’s top two cups.
The last game is a Laois derby with Mountmellick Utd hosting Abbeyleix Athletic. Only five league places separate the sides with Mountmellick eighth in the Senior Divison and Abbeyleix chasing promotion from the Premier Division. There will be little to chose between these sides with perhaps home advantage giving Mountmellick the edge.
In the Michael Dolan Division 1 Cup, Clonaslee Utd will be hoping that their game with Clonmore Utd goes ahead at the third time of asking. Twice postponed due to the weather, the game is fixed for Clonmore this Sunday. Given that they are 19 points ahead of their opponents in the league, it would be a surprise if Clonaslee did not advance.
Both Dynamo Town and Noreside Celtic face tough but winnable away assignments in the Division 2 Cup with trips to Gentex and Edenderry Town B respectively. League form would suggest that the two Laois sides go in as favourites but it is never easy to pick up cup wins on the road.
In the Division 3 Cup, Portlaoise travel to play Kilcormac. Both sides are contention for promotion from Division 3A and this should be a very competitive game. Portlaoise will need to be at their best if they are keep their hunt for silverware going on multiple fronts.
Both Rosenallis B and Maryborough are in action in the Division 4 Cup. Division 4A leaders Rosenallis travel to play Offaly Cup specialists St James who have already accounted for Tower Hill Rovers in this competition.
Maryborough hos Killoe in a game of evenly matched sides but the Portlaoise outfit will go in as favourites with home advantage.