The Laois U/14 hurling development squad
The young hurlers of the Laois Development Squads had a very successful weekend, with the U-14s making history with victories of Kilkenny and Limerick in the Tony Forrestal Tournaments.
The U-14s recorded Laois' first ever victory in the 'A' section of the Tony Forrestal Tournament, and what a win it was too, as they defeated Kilkenny's 'A' team by a point, 2-10 to 1-12.
No Laois team has defeated Kilkenny in any grade since the seniors win over them in the Walsh Cup during Niall Rigney's spell in charge, while championship wins over the Cats are even rarer, making this a remarkable and momentous victory for the young team.
Not content with that scalp, they turned their attentions to Limerick, and this time it was a more emphatic affair. They had eight points to spare over the Treaty, winning 1-15 to 1-7, despite playing most of the game with 14 players.
At this stage, the draw worked against them, as they qualified for the semi-finals against Tipperary. This game was just 20 minutes after their win over Limerick, while Tipp had a break of an hour and a half before throw in.
Having been left with 14 men in the Limerick game, fatigue eventually caught up with Laois, but they put in an almightly battle. With five minutes to go there was only four points between the teams, but a strong Tipperary bench was the difference, as they finished strongly to record a 2-10 to 0-7 victory.
The Laois U-15s fielded two teams in the Michael Foley tournament, in Division 1 and Division 3.
The team in Division 1 opened with a big win over Kilkenny South, 4-10 to 1-5, and followed that up with another one-sided victory, this time over Offaly, 4-11 to 1-5.
This put them in a semi-final against Dublin, but the Dubs, who eventually won out the Division 1, proved too strong on a scoreline of 5-10 to 202.
The Division 3 team brought home some silverware, however, thanks to some very impressive performances.
In the group stages they beat Kildare 1-15 to 1-1, Westmeath 2-8 to 2-4, and then Meath 5-13 to 1-1. Thanks to their 100% record they were straight through to the final, where they met Westmeath for a second time. It was even more emphatic on this occasion, as a 2-9 to 1-2 victory handed them the title.
The Laois U-16 team were also in action on Saturday, as they took part in the 'B' section of the Arrabawn competition.
They breezed through the group stages, beating Meath 6-12 to 2-6, Limerick 3-10 to 0-7 and then Kerry 5-10 to 3-13 in a cracking contest.
Those three wins sent them through to the semi-finals, where they met a strong Kilkenny side. It was a closely fought game from the first whistle, but the final scoreline was a harsh one on Laois. The game ended 1-14 to 0-7, but a run of 1-3 without reply in the last couple of minutes made things look a little better for the Cats.
Overall, it was a very encouraging weekend for Laois underage hurling, with the work being done at club, development squad and schools level paying off with some impressive results.
LAOIS U-14 PANEL
Darragh McSpadden (Borris-Kilcotton); Noah Quinlan (Borris-Kilcotton); Paddy Sheeran (Borris-Kilcotton); Philip Tynan (Borris-Kilcotton); Greg Cuddy (Camross); Jack Phelan (Camross); Rian Kavanagh (Castletown-Slieve Bloom); Cian Conroy (Clonaslee St Manman's); Padraigh Brennan (Clough-Ballacolla); Lochlainn Conway (Clough-Ballacolla); Joe Corby (Clough-Ballacolla); Cillian Dunne (Clough-Ballacolla); Josh O’Brien Holmes (Mountrath); Tom Fennelly (Na Fianna); Daniel Bowe (Rathdowney-Errill); Ben Campion (Rathdowney-Errill); Ryan Costigan (Rathdowney-Errill); James Keegan (Rathdowney-Errill); Padraigh Rafter (Rathdowney-Errill); Aodh Bowes (Rosenallis); David Dooley (Rosenallis); Charlie Friel (Rosenallis); Alex Marron (Rosenallis); Jim O’Connor (The Harps).
LAOIS U-15 PANEL
DIVISION 1 TEAM
Eddie Critchley (Portlaoise); Eamon Fitzpatrick (Abbeyleix); Niall Coss (Borris-Kilcotton); Ian Shanahan (Slieve Margy); Adam Broady (Abbeyleix); Brian Bredin (Mountrath); Danny Brennan (Na Fianna); Fionán Mahony (Abbeyleix); James Duggan (The Harps); Aaron Brennan (Abbeyleix); Conor Delaney (The Harps); Cathal Shaughnessy (Ballinakill); Cian Shaughnessy (Ballinakill); Lee Maher (Abbeyleix); Aaron Costigan (Rathdowney-Errill); Jack Foyle (Borris-Kilcotton); DJ Callaghan (Clonaslee-St Manman’s); Michael Monahan (The Harps); Kevin Mulhall (Clough-Ballacolla); Eoin Naughton (Portlaoise).
DIVISION 3 TEAM
David Sheeran (Abbeyleix); Aaron O’Dea (Ballypickas); Keelin Kelly (Borris-Kilcotton); Cian Bourke (Rathdowney-Errill); James Whelan (Raheen Parish Gaels); Daragh Tobin (Castletown-Slieve Bloom); Scott Pearson (Borris-Kilcotton); Daragh Hogan (Clough-Balacolla); Daragh Lyons (Na Fianna); Mark Ramsbottom (Park-Ratheniska); Tadhg Cuddy (Castletown-Slieve Bloom); Conor Goode (Raheen Parish Gaels); Tomas Keyes (Camross); Adam Kirwan (Mountrath); Paddy Hosey (Na Fianna); Eoghan Dunne (Abbeyleix); Jamie Gill (Castletown-Slieve Bloom); Ciaran Burke (The Harps).
Laois U-16 Panel
Conor Breen (Castletown-Slieve Bloom); Gearoid O’Neill (vice capt, Trumera); Gearoid Williams (Mountrath); Jamie Hickey (Portlaoise); Ben Shore (Castletown-Slieve Bloom); Conor Cosgrove (capt, Rosenallis); Fionn Holland (Clonad); Thep Fitzpatrick (Rathdowney-Errill); Niall Carey (Portlaoise); Conor Walsh (Castletown-Slieve Bloom); Jim Kirby (The Harps); Evan Hawkes (Clough-Ballacolla); Dylan Cuddy (Shanahoe); Mark Hennessey (Clough-Ballacolla); Niall Bennett (Camross); Luke Gleeson (Slieve Margy); Cillian Maher (Rathdowney-Errill); Cein Kirwan (Castletown-Slieve Bloom); Ciaran Byrne (Abbeyleix); Killian Kirwan (Mountrath); Eoin Flanagan (Rathdowney-Errill); Gearoid Lynch (Slieve Margy); Billy McEvoy (The Harps); Darren Phelan (Clonad); Brandon Cleere (Rathdowney-Errill); Rossa Duffy (Rosenallis); Bill Bryan (Clough-Ballacolla); Alan Connolly (Ballyfin).
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