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Preview: Laois vs Longford (Allianz Football League Division 4 Round 1)

By Laois PRO Fri 26th Jan

Preview: Laois vs Longford (Allianz Football League Division 4 Round 1)
Preview: Laois vs Longford (Allianz Football League Division 4 Round 1)
Credit: Paul Dargan

Picture Credit: Paul Dargan.

The Laois Senior Footballers are set to embark on their new era under Justin McNulty’s second stint as manager, when they take on Longford at home in their first league game of 2024 at Laois Hire O’Moore Park this Saturday in the Allianz Football League Division 4 Round 1 fixture (6pm kick off).
Tickets can be purchased both online and in person using the following options below and if you cannot attend the game, live match scores and updates will be provided via Twitter (link below).
Tickets can be purchased online here:
Tickets can be purchased in person via selected participating SuperValu & Centra stores:
SuperValu Stradbally
Breslin’s SuperValu Rathdowney
McConville’s SuperValu Mountmellick
McLoughlin’s SuperValu Portarlington
Mulhall’s SuperValu Portlaoise
SuperValu Abbeyleix
SuperValu Parkside Portlaoise
Follow live match scores and updates on our official CLG Laois Twitter account:
Manager Justin McNulty has named the following side to face Longford:
Allianz Football League Debutants: 
Although he played in other competitions for Laois Senior Footballers, this is the first time goalkeeper Killian Roche (Killeshin) plays in the Allianz Football League for Laois.
The following players also make league debuts:
Ben Dempsey (Portlaoise)
Conor Heffernan (Killeshin)
Niall Dunne (Courtwood)
Shaun Fitzpatrick (Ballyroan Abbey)
2023 Laois Club Senior Football Player Of The Year, James Kelly (St.Joseph’s) is set to make his inter county return.
O’Byrne Cup 2024 Round Up: 
The previous O’Byrne Cup competition presented new manager Justin McNulty with the chance to use a great variety of players, consisting of both seasoned campaigners and more importantly new young players who were handed debuts under Justin McNulty’s key strategy for development, as Laois prepared for the upcoming Allianz Football League Division 4 season.

Photo Credit: Paul Dargan

Round 1 versus Offaly in Stradbally GAA on Wednesday January 3rd 2024.
Final score: 
Laois: 0-12
Offaly: 1-11
Scorers: Mark Barry (0-6), Brian Daly, Simon Fingleton, Shaun Fitzpatrick, Paul Kingston, Brian Byrne and Fionn Holland (0-1 each)
Players who made their Laois Senior Football debut that evening: against Offaly were the following:
Aaron Cooney (St.Joseph’s)
Ben Dempsey (Portlaoise)
Liam Knowles (Stradbally)
Simon Fingleton (Park Ratheniska)
Cormac Murphy (St.Joseph’s)
Fionn Holland (O’Dempseys)
Mikey Dempsey (St.Joseph’s)
Jack Lacey (St.Joseph’s)
Micheal Downey (Ballylinan)
Shaun Fitzpatrick (Ballyroan-Abbey)
Paul Kingston (Arles-Killeen) was substituted and replaced by debutant Shaun Fitzpatrick (Ballyroan-Abbey) as Kingston sustained an injury in the game against Offaly.
Plus prior to the O’Byrne Cup campaign, Padraig Kirwan (Emo) and Kieran Lillis (Portlaoise) returned to training after injuries and are currently on the road to full fitness.
Players ruled out were both Alex Mohan (Portarlington) and Ryan Brady (Ballylinan) will be absent for the 2024 season due to injury.
Players not available as they are gone travelling include: 
Trevor Collins (Graiguecullen) plus Portarlington trio Robbie Piggot, Paddy O’Sullivan and Colm Murphy.
Shield Semi Final versus Wicklow in Rathnew on Saturday January 13th.
Final score: 
Laois: 0-12
Wicklow: 1-20
Scorers: Rioghan Murphy (0-5), Brian Daly (0-4), Dylan Kavanagh, Liam Knowles and Brian Brennan (0-1 each)
Players who made their Laois Senior Football debut that day: against Wicklow were the following:
Conor Gee (Ballyroan-Abbey)
Paddy Keating (Rosenallis)
Eamon Delaney (Stradbally)
Neil Keane (The Heath)
Conor Brown (Portlaoise)
Sean Brennan (St.Joseph’s)
Conor Whelehan (Timahoe)
Players who made their first start that day:
Aaron Cooney (St.Joseph’s)
Jack Lacey (St.Joseph’s)
Mikey Dempsey (St.Joseph’s)
Ciaran Burke (Crettyard)
Rioghan Murphy (Portarlington)
Michael Nash (Crettyard)
Brian Brennan (Crettyard)
The opposition team Longford are no strangers to both the Laois side and also the home ground of Laois Hire O’Moore Park.
Longford played in the O’Byrne Cup final versus Dublin in Laois Hire O’Moore Park just 5 days prior on Saturday January 19th, where they were crowned O’Byrne Cup champions for the second year in a row, after defeating Dublin on a scoreline of: Longford: 1-12. Dublin: 0-9.
Previous Meetings: 
Both sides of Laois and Longford will be well prepared for the upcoming challenge of facing eachother, having met 3 times since 2020. Laois won one of these fixtures, the 2020 Leinster SFC Quarter Final and were defeated in the other 2 fixtures.
In the 2020 Leinster SFC Quarter Final, Laois had to dig deep and prevailed by just 2 points in the end under former manager Mike Quirke on a scoreline of 1-16 to 1-14.
In a hard fought, spirited and excellent performance that seen Laois progress to the semi final stages of the Leinster Championship for the first time in 9 years back then, making his championship debut as goalkeeper, Niall Corbett (Clonaslee St. Manman’s) produced a well earned man of the match performance.
Another current player and the consistently on target forward Paul Kingston (Arles Killeen) was unstoppable on the day also, scoring 1 goal and 1 point from play.
In the 2023 O’Byrne Cup Fixture, Laois were defeated on a scoreline of 3-18 to 0-13.
But it was a very notable fixture for many current Laois players.
Previous manager Billy Sheehan handed many of the current (2024) squad members their inter county senior debuts that day:
Emo’s Padraig Kirwan, Portlaoise’s Damon Larkin (who scored his first point for Laois that day), Clonaslee St.Manman’s Niall Corbet (outfield debut and scored 4 points) and Ballyroan Abbey’s Cathal Doyle all began their inter county journey up against Longford.
In the 2022 Allianz League Football League Division 3 Final Round Relegation Decider, where defeat seen Laois relegated to Division 4, in which both sides currently reside for the 2024 season.
On a scoreline of 2-17 to 1-13. Laoìs man, Arles Killeen’s Billy O’Loughlin was in charge of the Longford side that day.
The positives for Laois in this defeat were the brilliant performances of both Mark Barry (O’Dempseys) scoring 1-4 and Mark Timmons (Graiguecullen) scoring 0-3, whom were both relentless in attack. However, Laois were defeated courtesy of the scores from Longford duo Joe Hagan (scored 1-6) and Dessie Reynolds (1-2).
By Laois PRO Fri 26th Jan

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