NFL Division 3 Round 5 Preview
Peter Creedon’s Laois side continue their National Football League Division 4 campaign by facing Antrim in Corrigan Park at 2pm.
Laois have not enjoyed a good league campaign so far. They did manage a good away win against Armagh, but they have lost to Louth, Tipperary and Sligo – which leaves them sitting in the relegation zone.
Here we tell you what you need to know ahead of the game.
What’s the team news for both sides?
Laois manager Peter Creedon has rung the changes ahead of this game – with a third of the team that played in the defeat to Sligo two weeks’ ago, not picked.
Kieran Lillis, Pádraig McMahon, James Finn, Eoin Lowry and Ross Munnelly are all promoted to the starting 15 while James Kelly, Danny O’Reilly, Danny Luttell, who all played for the U-21s during the week, are amongst those to drop out.
Kevin Meaney misses out through suspension while it appears that Colm Begley misses out thanks to the hamstring injury he picked up against Sligo.
LAOIS: Graham Brody, Alan Farrell, Denis Booth, Darren Strong, Stephen Attride, Kieran Lillis, Pádraig McMahon; James Finn, John O’Loughlin, Niall Donoher, David Conway, Eoin Lowry; Ross Munnelly, Donie Kingston, Paul Kingston.
As regards Antrim, we don’t know as they haven’t published their team yet. Manager Gearóid Adams, son of Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, is keeping his cards close to his chest.
In attack, CJ McGourty and Ronan Murray will look to cause Laois problems while Martin Johnson and Jack Dowling will most likely be the ones tasked with disrupting Laois in midfield.
What happened when the sides last met?
The pair last met in what was Tomás Ó Flatharta’s last game in charge and it proved to be the Saffrons first ever championship victory against Laois.
Laois led by 1-09 to 0-05 at half-time with Paul Kingston netting their goal, and worked hard to hang onto a four-point lead with 15 minutes remaining after Ronan Murray netted for Antrim.
However, the visitors went to record an impressive win, with Dermot McAleese netting a 68th minute goal while Laois midfielder Brendan Quigley saw red in injury-time.
Indeed, Antrim scored 1-3 without reply in the closing minutes to record a 2-15 to 1-16 win.
For the record, here at the teams from that day:
LAOIS – Graham Brody; Damien O’Connor, Mark Timmons, Stephen Attride; Darren Strong, Gearóid Hanrahan, Colm Begley; Brendan Quigley, John O’Loughlin; Niall Donoher, Conor Boyle, Evan O’Carroll; Ross Munnelly, Donie Kingston, Paul Kingston
Subs: Robbie Kehoe for Attride (48); Billy Sheehan for O’Carroll (62); Conor Meredith for Munnelly (63); James Finn for P Kingston (68).
ANTRIM – C Kerr (0-01, 1f); N Delargy, J Crozier, D Lynch; P McAleer, J Laverty, T Scullion; O Gallagher (0-01), B Hasson (0-01); M Sweeney, C Murray (0-01), M Armstrong; P McBride (0-02), R Murray (1-04), M Pollock (0-05, 4f).
Subs: D McAleese (1-00) for McAleer (29); J Dowling for Armstrong (HT); R McGrady for Gallagher (64).
How have both teams got on in Division 3 so far?
Not good. Laois and Antrim are embroiled in a relegation dogfight along with Longford and Offaly as, with three games to play, they all sit down the bottom on two points.
Laois began with a very bad defeat at home to Louth by 2-16 to 0-9. However, they responded a week later to beat Armagh by 2-11 to 0-16.
But results since then have taken a turn for the worst. Tipperary became the second team to go to O’Moore Park as they did so by 1-16 to 1-10.
Laois took a two goal lead against Sligo but, Kevin Meaney saw red before half time and Laois eventually went down by 0-18 to 2-10.
Antrim have also only managed one win, at home to Sligo in round one on a 0-11 to 1-7 scoreline.
But they have gone down to Tipperary, Offaly and Louth as well to leave them at the wrong end of the table.
Whoever loses this game will almost certainly be staring at Division 4 football in 2018.
What is the betting like?
Laois are slight favourites at a price of 4/6 with Antrim at 6/4 and the draw at 15/2.