Laois have made the big trip to Ruislip this weekend to take on London for the first time ever in the National Football League. The two teams are completely new to one and other which leaves Laois people wondering what can we expect from the game.
Needless to say, the trip to London is gathering a big following with an estimated 1300 people having made the trip. People are coming out of the rafters and dusting off the cobwebs to make the journey which will hopefully make a great atmosphere. For those heading over, keep an eye on our guide to London.
John Sugrue will be hoping that a win this weekend will move his side on the brink of securing promotion and there is some big changes made by the Kerry native to get the job done.
Donie Kingston makes his first start of the season in the slightly unusual midfield role while captain Stephen Attride returns after missing the last couple of games because of injury as does Danny O’Reilly.
There is also a first league start for Portlaoise’s Benny Carroll at wing-forward. Out of the team goes Ruadhri C Fennell at corner-back, Kieran Lillis at midfield and wing-forwards Niall Donoher and Alan Farrell.
The London team hasn’t been released.
LAOIS: Graham Brody (Portlaoise); Gareth Dillon (Portlaoise), Shane Nerney (O’Dempsey’s), Stephen Attride (Killeshin); Trevor Collins (Graiguecullen), Colm Begley (Stradbally), Finbar Crowley (Emo); John O’Loughlin (St Brigid’s, Dublin), Donie Kingston (Arles-Killeen); Danny O’Reilly (Graiguecullen), Paul Kingston (Arles-Killeen), Benny Carroll (Portlaoise); Ross Munnelly (Arles-Kilcruise), Gary Walsh (Ballylinan), Evan O’Carroll (Crettyard).
What’s the history between the sides?
There is no history between the sides. London are the only team that have not faced Laois in the National Football League, and this weekend will see Laois complete the 32 team list. The last time Laois went to England to play a match was in 1993 when Laois’ junior side took on Lancashire in the All-Ireland Junior semi-final, which they won by ten points.
What London players should we watch out for?
Former Mayo minor and U-21 player Liam Irwin has recently linked up with the squad and could feature on Sunday while the likes of Fergal McMahon and Anthony McDermott have been impressive for them so far this year. Former Tyrone player Owen Mulligan is also part of the set up. Liam Gavaghan is the side’s captain this year and interestingly is the first London-born player to captain the side.
They are managed by former Wexford player Ciaran Deely whose full-time job is with the QPR Academy.
What has London’s season been like so far?
London have won one, drawn one and lost two games so far which has placed them in fourth place on three points. Their two defeats came against Carlow and Antrim, Laois’ main rivals in the race for promotion. They picked up a comfortable win over Wicklow while they had to share the spoils against Limerick.
In a warning sign for Laois they ran Carlow to three points and Antrim to four and with all of their games at home, they would love another win ahead of their final two games against Leitrim and Waterford.
Is there a curtain raiser?
The game is a sole fixture.
What are the odds?
Laois are currently 1/7 to beat the Londoners, while the London men are 5/1 to beat an inform Laois side. A draw is 14/1.
How much does it cost to get in?
It’s £10 for adults. Children U-16 go free. Bare in mind you will have to spend a good bit more to get there.
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.
SEE ALSO – Laois football team named for trip to London