Fresh from their vital victory over Killavilla last weekend, Mountmellick are back in league action the the Senior Division this weekend as they continue their battle against relegation.
A hat-trick from Robbie Hibbits saw them to victory last Saturday night and moved them up to fourth from bottom of the table. However both St Peter’s (6) and Melville (3) have games in hand so they are still very much in the midst of the relegation battle.
This Sunday host bottom side Gallen Utd who have only four points from 14 games. Mountmellick will be favourites to put back to back wins together which they certainly need with just three games to go.
A win for Mountmellick would pile the pressure on Arlington who despite being fifth in the table, are still very much looking over their shoulder at the teams behind. They are only three points ahead of Mountmellick and also only have three games left to play. This Sunday they host Killavilla and a defeat would leave them in serious relegation difficulties. Killavilla will be licking their wounds after their loss at home to Mountmellick and despite having three games in hand, they could yet find themselves at risk of the drop. The sides drew when they played in Villa Park earlier in the season and Arlington will be hoping that with home advantage they can record an all important win.
With CK Utd having one hand on the Premier Division trophy and one of the promotion places, the battle is very much on for second promotion spot.
Abbeyleix Athletic and Willow Park B are currently in joint second with three more teams very much within striking distance. This weekend Abbeyleix travel to Offaly to face Edenderry Town who are four points behind them with two games in hand. A defeat for Abbeyleix would put a serious dent in their promotion hopes however their form of late has been excellent and they will make the trip confident of getting three points.
At the other end of the division both Stradbally Town and Rosenallis are very much battling against the drop. Stradbally are currently propping up the table and a defeat this Sunday at The Lawn would leave their hopes of avoiding relegation hanging by a thread. Derry Rovers are making a serious promotion push and will go into the game as favourites. With just five games left, Stradbally can ill afford to come away from this game with a defeat.
Two places and five points ahead of Stradbally are Rosenallis who, while not in quite as precarious a position, need to start picking up points. Like their Laois counterparts, Rosenallis are at home to a promotion chasing side with Mullingar Athletic the visitors to The Grove. With Mullingar Town hot on their heels, Rosenallis could do with at least a point although three would be preferable.
The only game in Division 3A is an all Laois tie as Emo Celtic make the short trip to Rossleighan Park. Portlaoise are right in the hunt for the league title as they are just two points behind Ballybrittas with four games to go. They can ill afford a slip at this stage against an Emo side who need the win to pull clear of the relegation battle. Portlaoise have lost just twice in ten games and come into the game off the back of a 6-1 win over title rivals Clonminch in the CCFL Shield but they will need to be on their guard this Sunday against an Emo side who have won four, lost four and drawn one this season.
Rosenallis B are currently three points off the top of the table with two games in hand and are the favourites to claim top spot. This weekend they play one of those games in hand when they travel to play Portlaoise Shamrocks. On current form, Rosenallis would be fancied to come away with the win although they cannot take anything for granted. Shamrocks have little to play for but they have the potential to throw a spanner in Rosenallis’ title hopes.
A number of Laois teams will be hoping to advance to the later stages of cup competitions this weekend as the latest rounds of the divisional cups take place.
In the Division 1 Cup, Clonaslee welcome Clonmore Utd for a game that fell victim to the weather a couple of weeks ago. With Clonaslee currently second in Division 1 and Clonmore propping up the table, the home side would be fancied to advance to Round 2.
Two Laois teams are in action in the Division 2 Cup and both are away from home this Sunday. High fliers Dynamo Town travel to play Gentex in a game they would be favoured to win.
Noreside Celtic are right in the promotion hunt and they will also fancy their chances of advancing against second from bottom Edenderry Town B.
Four Laois teams are out in the Division 4 Cup and at least two will be in the third round draw. Top and bottom of Division 4A meet in Portarlington when CR Forest host Abbeyleix Atheltic B. CR have yet to win a game in the league this year in 14 attempts although they have recorded six draws. It would count as a major upset if they were to account for league leaders Abbeyleix who come into the game off the back of a 5-0 win over Mountmellick Utd B in the league last weekend.
The second all Laois game is much more difficult to call as Portarlington Town host St Aengus. Only two places and five points separate them in the league with Portarlington holding the advantage. Portarlington Town have only suffered defeat once in the league this season however the seven draws they have in 13 games is a league high. What odds this game needing extra-time and maybe even penalties to sort it out?