Portlaoise and Arles-Kilcruise will meet in the Laois SFC final for the third time in four years this Sunday afternoon, as Portlaoise look to extend their record-breaking run to six titles in a row.
Both teams are expected to have full panels to pick from, with Padraig Conway the major concern for Arles-Kilcruise after he limped out of their semi-final victory over O’Dempsey’s. It is expected that he will return, however, with the good news for Kilcruise being the return of Diarmuid Carroll in that game, as he comes back to full fitness having been injured in the ACFL Division 1 semi-final earlier this year.
As expected, Portlaoise are red-hot favourites to win, listed at 1/5 with most bookes, while Arles-Kilcruise are at 9/2, with a draw at 9/1. Arles-Kilcruise will be hoping to pick up a second ever Laois SFC title, and in recent years they have been the only club team to challenge Portlaoise’s dominance. The 2009 final saw Portlaoise win by just four points, while in 2010, only a goal separated the teams, 1-8 to 0-8. Portlaoise won by the same margin in the quarter-final last year, 1-9 to 0-9, and this Sunday’s final is set to be as close as all of those previous encounters.
Crettyard’s Joe Brennan has been confirmed as the referee, with Maurice Deegan taking charge of the IFC final between Emo and Ballyroan Abbey, with Emo favourites to make an immediate return to senior football after enjoying something of a renaissance this year.
In other GAA news, the Laois CCC were to meet last night to decide what action to take over the U-16 ‘A’ football semi-final, which ended in controversy over a week ago. Portlaoise and Stradbally Parish Gaels had finished level, but initially it was thought the game would go to a replay rather than extra-time. Portlaoise left the field, but it was later confirmed that extra-time was to be played. Stradbally stayed on the field, but as Portlaoise had already togged in, the game was abandonded, and a decision on whether it will be replayed was due to be made on Monday night.