No team, as yet, for Saturday evening’s clash with Laois (it’s likely to be named later tonight, I’d reckon) and not that much of note to mention – other than the fact that DIT (with Killer to the fore again), UUJ (look, there’s Andy Moran) and GMIT (featuring Tom Cunniffe, James Kilcullen and Michael Conroy) have all advanced to the semi-finals of the Sigerson. And, in the same tournament, I see that those unruly Guards got turfed out (“The Guards are out! The Guards are out!”) for fielding a banger. Fancy that – Guards breaking the rules and not just ones based in Donegal either.
With such a paucity of news, there’s nothing for it but to rummage through the archive to see if there’s anything of note there relating to past matches with Laois. (Incidentally, you’ll notice that I’ve now established a results archive beachhead in the 20th century – the 1999 results are now done – and I’ve also added links, only at this stage to the 2006 results but I’ll backfill these as well, from press reports of league and championship matches. Spoiled rotten you are, the lot of yez.)
Our most recent clash with the O’Moore County was last year at U21 level, when they beat us by 0-11 to 0-6 in the All-Ireland semi-final, a match marred by a particularly poor refereeing performance but one where we never really showed up. Here’s what I had to say about it at the time and here’s the Western’s match report on it. As you can see, a number of that U21 team have already progressed through to (and, in the case of Pierce Hanley, beyond) senior level inside the last twelve months.
The last time we faced Laois at senior level was, of course, when we met in the All-Ireland quarter-finals in 2006. It looked like they had our number the first day but a late, late free from Conor Mortimor forced a 0-14 each draw and a week later we beat them by 0-14 to 0-11 in the replay.
You have to go back further, to February 2003 in fact, for our last meeting with the O’Moore County in the league. That match, in Division 1B, took place in Ballinrobe and Laois edged it by a single point, 1-9 to 1-8. The last time we faced them in the league at O’Moore Park was as far back as November 2000, in Division 1B of the 2000/1 NFL (which, of course, we ended up winning outright early the following year). We had a goal to spare in that one, winning by 1-11 to 0-11, and it’s interesting to see that Aidan Higgins, James Gill and Trevor Mortimor, all of whom could feature at some stage on Saturday night, started on that last outing in O’Moore Park.
2 thoughts on “Close encounters of the Laois kind”
Great to see the marvellous and continued participation of Mayo lads at the highest level of Sigerson. Apart from Kerry we are the next highest for players winning medals in that competition. However despite it being a tough cup to win our lads seem unable to make the final step into the county senior team. Kilcoyne played against Kerry in the quarters back in 2005. At this stage he should be firing on serious cylinders. Like wise Micheal Conroy, a teak tough corner forward. In regards the league i dont care if they go down. Last years three All ireland semi finalists are at present in div 2 i.e Cork, Dublin and Meath, but what worries me is a lack of leaders and strenght in the spine of the team. Look at Meath, quietly and almost unoticed they are building a big team. We are lacking at the moment. When we got to the All Ireland of 1996 it was from division 3.
Killer’s inability to hit that next level is strange alright. He played regularly enough in 2005 (especially in the league) but I really thought that, after 2006, he was destined to become a star forward for us. It didn’t happen and he was poor enough when he came on against Donegal, with that howler at the end, which led to the move culminating in their second goal, doing little, I’d say, for his confidence. Hopefully his continued good form in the Sigerson will stand to him.
We definitely need more leaders on the pitch and the lack of a strong spine is, like last year, a major worry. I’m getting more convinced that our problems at the back stem from our lack of competitiveness around the middle and until we get this area sorted, we’re going to continue struggling in this league campaign.