Brought to you in association with Hanlon Kitchens
The Laois senior hurlers go to Navan on Sunday for a Leinster SHC round robin game against a Meath team that has to be regarded as one of the most improved in the country.
Both sides won their opening round games last weekend with Laois surviving a late scare and Meath seeing off Kerry despite being priced at 3/1 before the throw in.
As Laois prepare for their latest clash we look at some of the main talking points.
Laois manager Eamonn Kelly praised the role his subs played after coming on against Westmeath and he now has a lot of choices to make with regards his starting team. Matthew Whelan came on for his first appearance in over two months in the second half last Sunday while Neil Foyle will be available now again after suspension.
Do both go straight back into the starting team? If they do what does it mean to the make up of the team? Will Cha Dwyer revert to his more natural position in the forward line? Will Ross King remain in midfield? And what of Aaron Dunphy? He scored three points from play after coming on last weekend and has impressed since making his debut in the league.
Meath’s winning run
Meath may have played two divisions below Laois in the Allianz Hurling League but they romped to the Division 2B title, winning their six games by an average of 11 points.
Eamonn Kelly pointed after Laois’s win on Sunday over Westmeath that the Royal County have now won their last 12 games – in the league, Christy Ring Cup and Leinster championship – and that their win over Kerry didn’t surprise him.
The last time Laois went to Navan for a Leinster championship match was way back in 2002 – and Meath dumped Laois out of the championship that day with no back door for safety. Laois need to be on their guard.
Laois looked to be home and dry as the Westmeath game entered the final ten minutes last Sunday but two late goals meant that they were hanging on for the final moments and could very well have been dealt another sucker punch.
It’s an unwelcome trend that Laois have faded out of games this year. Against Kerry in the opening round of the league, Kerry struck for two late goals that denied Laois a win – and again in the relegation playoff a couple of weeks back. Laois also eased off against Offaly in the league game as Offaly worked their way back into the game despite being two men down for most of the second half.
It’s a trend Laois don’t want to see developing any further.
The permutations …
A Laois win would put them into a strong position but it wouldn’t necessarily put them through to the quarter-final of the Leinster championship.
If Laois and Kerry were to win on Sunday it would throw up the possibility of Laois, Kerry and Meath all to finish on four points and scoring difference would come into it.
Regardless of the results on Sunday, it’s most likely that there will be plenty to play for in the final round of games on Sunday, May 14.
But a Laois win would be a help nonetheless.