How you fare when playing against Kilkenny is the barometer of everything in Leinster hurling, according to Laois minor boss Christy Walsh.
His side play Kilkenny in the Leinster semi-final at 3pm on Saturday in O’Moore Park, where they’ll be hoping to cause a massive shock and reach the provincial decider.
“In Leinster everything is determined by how you can do against Kilkenny, what kind of a game you can give them,” he said when speaking to LaoisToday after their win over Meath in the quarter-final.
“They’re the standard bearers for everything, whatever age or grade from top to bottom.”
Although Kilkenny didn’t even reach last year’s Leinster final, they have eased to this stage of the championship following a 3-22 to 0-4 win over Westmeath in the opening round and then a 1-20 to 0-11 win over Wexford the next day out.
They have been able to call on eight of the St Kieran’s team that reached the All Ireland colleges final, including captain Adrian Mullen from the Ballyhale Shamrocks club as well as Michael Carey and Tommy Ronan, sons of former Kilkenny greats DJ and Adrian. Mullen is their main scoring threat and hit 1-9 in the win over Wexford.
Laois had a big win over Offaly in the opening round before pushing Leinster champions Dublin close the next day out. They then availed of their second chance by beating Meath in the quarter-final – although they had to endure a nervous second half that day as Meath eat into Laois’s big lead with wind advantage in the second half.
“What you’d be hoping is that you could compete with them all day. If we play like we did in the first half (against Meath) we will compete with them. If we play like we did in the second half we won’t.”
Laois will again be hoping from big performances again from the likes of captain Padraig Delaney, Ciaran Comerford and Oisin Bennett.
For Comerford and his twin brother Dan, it’ll be their sixth successive week of championship action as they are also involved with the Laois minor footballers. They will be in action again a week later when they play Kildare in the Leinster minor semi-final.
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