Another whopping defeat for an unfortunate Laois hurling side and a late loss for a 14-man football team yesterday made for a sad weekend for players and supporters as both teams now face serious relegation battles in this year’s Allianz Leagues.
The hurlers were always on a damage limitation trip against Galway but the loss of so many first-choice players made it mission impossible. The home side tore them apart from the throw in and it was a long 70 minutes as Galway cantered to victory.
It is indeed trying times for Eamon Kelly and Co and the opening round loss to Kerry could come back to haunt them in a big way. Offaly almost defeated Limerick and showed that they are going to be a different team than the one that Laois beat a few weeks ago. It could well be a case of Laois meeting Offaly in the relegation playoff with the losers making the drop.
Offaly have at least five players back on the panel from that game and the defeat to Laois seems to have galvanised them into action. They have Wexford and Kerry to come while Laois now have Limerick at home on Saturday and Wexford away a week later.
The loss of defenders Matthew Whelan, Podge Lawlor and Conor Phelan after the Offaly game was immense but then losing Cha Dwyer and Picky Maher finished any chance Laois had travelling to Galway. Laois are still above Kerry and Offaly on points difference but it seems the winner of the Kerry and Offaly last round tie in Tralee will take the last quarter final spot with the loser playing Laois in the relegation final.
Dwayne Palmer went off injured yesterday and he is also a cause for concern and with a lack of backup in defence in the panel it will be a daunting task with only a seven-day turnaround. Tough times for all concerned that could have been so different if they had beaten Kerry.
Laois footballers are also in the dreaded drop zone after two inexplicably poor displays at home. A win yesterday would have been a real tonic and in fairness they gave a hugely committed display. The sending off of Kevin Meaney when they were seven points in front left them in a vulnerable position and they were eventually hauled in and overtaken. The dreaded red mist descended on Meaney and a moment of madness cost him and his side dearly.
I am still convinced that Peter Creedon’s charges will survive as unlike the hurlers they have a bit of strength in depth in the panel. They also have players returning every game and that is making for a stronger side on the field.
Brendan Quigley will be a huge addition in these final games and with the minds now firmly focussed on staying out of Division 4 they should meet the challenge and get a winning run going before they start the build up a first round championship clash with Longford.
Trying times for Laois players, managements and supporters.