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Your guide to Laois v Offaly in round four of the National Hurling League

Brought to you in association with Telfords Portlaoise

Last weekend’s win over Antrim has put the Laois hurlers in a good position coming into the final two rounds of the Division 1B. They are now level on points with Offaly and Dublin, who are their next opponents.

Both Laois and Offaly will be targeting this weekend’s local derby as an opportunity to cement their Division 1B, while also placing them in a league quarter-final.

With Antrim all but certain to contest the relegation play-off and Dublin set to take on Galway, a win for Laois could set themselves up for an enticing final round clash with the Dubs in Portlaoise.

Starting Teams

Laois manager Eamonn Kelly has kept faith with the same starting 15 that beat Antrim last weekend for Sunday’s game. Last year’s minor star Ciaran Comerford is named to start once again having been a late addition the last day when he came in instead of Mark Kavanagh.

Captain Ross King, who scored 15 points, lines out in the full-forward line alongside Comerford and Neil Foyle, one of the side’s longer-serving players. Meanwhile for Offaly, Shane Dooley has been reinstated in the starting 15 at centre forward.

LAOIS: Enda Rowland; Donnacha Hartnett, Leigh Bergin, Lee Cleere; Podge Lawlor, Matthew Whelan, Eric Killeen; James Ryan, Paddy Purcell; Ben Conroy, Cha Dwyer, Willie Dunphy;  Ross King, Neil Foyle, Ciaran Comerford

OFFALY: Eoghan Cahill; Tom Spain, Sean Gardiner, Ben Conneely; David O’Toole, Pat Camon, Paddy Delaney; David King, Tommy Geraghty; Joe Bergin, Shane Dooley, Colin Egan; Cillian Kiely, Conor Mahon, Dan Currams.

What’s the history between the sides?

Laois and Offaly are regular opponents in both league and championship. Last year, Eamonn Kelly’s Laois side took on Offaly in Portlaoise and defeated them by six points, which was Laois’ only win in last year’s regular league games.

What Offaly players should we watch out for?

Their talisman Shane Dooley hasn’t been able to secure a starting spot for Offaly so far, but the Tullamore man gets the nod this and is sure to be a lethal weapon. Their full-forward line all come from the county champions Kilcormac-Killoughey so they’re likely to provide a tough task for the Laois team.

What’s Offaly’s season been like so far? 

Offaly had a great win in Croke Park against an under-performing Dublin side in the opening round to get their campaign off to a good start.

But that was quickly reversed when a quality Limerick side dismantled them by 17 points in O’Connor Park. It didn’t get a whole lot better for the Faithful County when Galway beat them convincingly on the scoreline of 2-19 to 0-14.

Is there a curtain raiser?

This game is the curtain raiser, with the Offaly footballers taking on Armagh at 2.30pm in Division 3 of the NFL.

What are the odds? 

Offaly go into the game as favourites at the odds of 2/5, while Laois are an enticing 9/4 to overturn their neighbours. A draw is 10/1.

How much does it cost to get in?

It’s €15 for adults. Children U-16 go free.

Where can I follow the game?

We’ll be live-blogging the game on LaoisToday.ie as well as giving some updates on our new LaoisToday Sport Snapchat account. There is also full commentary on Midlands 103.

SEE ALSO – Laois camogie Volunteer of the Year honoured in Croke Park

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A former Knockbeg student, and is currently a student in the University of Limerick trying to scrape a BA in History and Politics. A marquee player in the goals for Annanough, but well capable of doing a job in full-forward and has the knack to turn his hand to any sport (except running). Only starting out in his journalistic career but already the specialist farming and property reporter. Happiest when Liverpool and Laois are winning!