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16/09/2021

All you need to know about the 16 teams bidding to win the Laois senior football championship

All you need to know about the 16 teams bidding to win the Laois senior football championship

The Laois senior football championship kicks off this week with 16 teams all vying to reach the holy grail of Laois football.
Eight first round games take place from Thursday to Sunday with all games in O'Moore Park over the course of the four days.
The losers of the first round games will all have a backdoor but there is a real sense that clubs need to get an opening round win and build momentum.

Portarlington have progressed from the pack in recent years and are now, firmly, the team to beat having captured the 2020 championship only a few weeks ago following the Covid delayed 2020 season.

They were impressive winners over Graiguecullen in the final while they backed that up nine days later with a league final win over Portlaoise leaving no doubt as to who are the team to beat.

There are a number of teams in the chasing pack who will feel they can turn the tables on the Portarlington men with Portlaoise looking like they may be the main contenders to the throne.

Ballyfin, Graiguecullen and Emo all played in the last four of the 2020 championship earlier this month and they will be hoping that experience and match fitness might stand to them in the early rounds.

Clonaslee St Manman's are up to Senior following their win in the Intermediate grade in 2020 while a clatter of steady senior teams will be looking to push on and go to the next level and challenge for a title.

The draw can have a big effect on it too. The likes of Ballyfin have got the short end of the stick and are drawn to play Portarlington in the opening round in a repeat of last year's semi final and it could be hard for them now to build up momentum in such a short spanned championship.

All in all, an exciting championship lies ahead. There will be plenty of twists and turns and don't expect it to pan out without a surprise or two down the line.
Below, we have profiled at all the teams competing for the ultimate prize.

EMO
Manager: John Strong
Selectors: David Costello, Mark Hand , Marc Carney
Captain: Niall Gorman
New players: Tommy Fennelly, Ross Meredith , Eoin Montague, Eamonn Donnelly
Long term injuries: None


KILLESHIN
Manager: Christy Bolger
Selectors: Martin Murray and Mick Malone
Captain: David McDermott
New Players: Adam O'Connor (Louth), Killian Roche (Clare) have transferred into the club.
Retirements: Shane Coakley, Cathal Brennan, Gavin Brennan
Long term injuries: David McDermott, Evan Lowry, Eoin Lowry, Shane Bolger, Michael Doran, Conor Heffernan, Owen Scully. Adam Deering suspended for first game also.


ST JOSEPH'S
Manager: Michael Dempsey
Selectors: David Brennan, Liam Brophy, Ian Donnelly, Edward Kelly
Captain: Not named yet.
New Players: Oisin Hooney, Adam Delaney, Thomas Byrne
Retirements: Colin Campion
Long term injuries: None


ROSENALLIS
Manager: Paddy Dunne
Selectors: Jimmy Stewart, Mick McEvoy, Niall Doolan.
Captain: Ruaidhri C Fennell
New Players: Charlie Friel, Aodh Bowes, Alex Marron.
Retirements: Mark Dunne playing Junior.
Long Term Injuries: Jack Conroy


O'DEMPSEY'S
Manager: Eoin Kearns
Selectors: Adrian Dunne, Brendan Behan, Odhran Gallagher, Michael Boyhan (S&C), Michael Cahill (Kitman)
Captain: Peter O’Leary, Shane Nerney (Vice Captain)
New Players: Stephen Lennon, Ben Coen.
Retirements: None
Long term injuries: None


GRAIGUECULLEN
Manager: Kevin Doogue
Selectors: Tomás Brett, Peter Branagan
Captain: Mark Timmons and Chris Hurley
New Players: Conor Kelly, Kian Lawler, Lee Nolan (all up from minor in 2020)
Retirements: None
Long term injuries: None

PORTARLINGTON
Manager: Martin Murphy
Selectors: Alan Bracken & Christy Smith
Captain: Keith Bracken
New players: None
Retirements: None
Injuries: None

BALLYROAN-ABBEY
Manager: Padraig Clancy
Selectors: Tom McKettrick, Rody McEvoy & Eamon McDonald
Captain: Not named yet.
New Players Davin McEvoy, Shaun Fitzpatrick, Conor Mcwey, Odharan Delaney, Ben McDonald are all minors making the step up.
Retirements: None
Long Term Injuries: None

COURTWOOD
Manager: Eddie Kinsella
Selectors: Fergal Byron and Kevin Nolan
Captain: Niall Dunne
New Players: Robert Tyrrell, Collins Ugochukwu. David O’Connell has returned to Ireland with his family from Australia whileAdam O Halloran and Dylan Keane have progressed from St Pauls to Courtwood senior football.
Retirements: Paddy Wilson, Matthew Kelly and Andrew Mulhare have retired from the Senior Football team and have been great ambassadors to the game, club and the younger players coming through.
Long term injuries Rory Doyle is not available due to an injury is sustained in 2020.

BALLYLINAN
Manager: Michael Lillis
Selectors: Pat Murphy and Aidan Walsh
Captain: Alan Farrell
New players: None.
Retirements: None.
Long term injuries Liam Kealy and Richie Ryan

BALLYFIN
Manager: Killian Fitzpatrick
Selectors: Donncha Phelan, Stephen Duff
Captain: Darragh Connolly
New Players: Stephen Bergin, Eoin Connolly, Enda Griffin, Eli Heffernan, Michael Maloney, Sean O'Rourke, Conall Rowney, Byron Walsh.
Retirements: None
Long term injuries: None

STRADBALLY
Manager: Greg Ramsbottom
Selectors: Barry Larkin, Podge Langton, Joe Begley, Colm Fitzgerald
Captain: Eoin Buggie
New Players: None
Retirements: Paul Begley
Long term injuries: None

THE HEATH
Manager: Shane Courtney
Selectors: Aidan Bergin, Pat Booth
S&C coach: Kim Turner
Captain: Denis Booth
Vice Captains: Mark Dowling, Brian Ging
New players: Aaron Thornthon, Gareth O Brien, Jake Ratcliffe and Mark Phelan.
Retirements: None
Injuries: None

CLONASLEE ST MANMAN'S
Manager: Conor Gorman
Selectors: Manus Dunne, Michael O'Brien, Darren Hogan.
Captain: Niall Corbet
New Players: Cian Conroy, Darragh Scully, Josh Flynn, Patrick Purcell, Senan Barrett, Luke Dunne, JJ Kennedy and Christy Conroy are all up from minor grade.
Retirements: None
Long term Injuries: None

PORTLAOISE
Manager: Kevin Fitzpatrick
Selectors: Paul Cotter, Owen Delaney, David Fitzpatrick, Pat Critchley, Brian McCormack
Captain: Benny Carroll
New Players: Ben Dempsey, Ben Reddin, DJ White, Jack O Connell, Josh Hogan, Michael Culleton
Retirements: Brian Glynn, Colin Finn
Long term injuries: None

ARLES KILLEEN
Manager: Rory Stapleton 

Selectors: Brian Kennedy, Keith Hosey, Jason Enright 
Captain: Paul Kingston 
New Players: Colin Dunne, Michael Wall, Kevin Lambe 
Retirements: Brian Kennedy 
Long term injuries: Oisin Byrne 

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