Home Sport GAA Here’s your guide to the Laois hurler’s relegation play-off against Antrim

Here’s your guide to the Laois hurler’s relegation play-off against Antrim

It’s crunch time for Eamonn Kelly’s men as they make 400 mile trip to Dunloy to take on Antrim in a do or die clash to save their Division 1B status for next season.

Having displayed disappointingly against Offaly and Dublin, Laois will be looking to bounce back against a team they managed to overturn less than a month ago. The trip will be tough, and following Antrim’s win over Offaly last weekend up, anything could await the Laois team.

Starting Teams

Eric Killeen, who was taken off early against Offaly and Dublin in recent matches, has lost his place on the half back line which goes to clubmate James Ryan.

He has switched there from midfield which is where Slieve Bloom’s Ben Conroy has gone to make way for Borris-Kilcotton’s PJ Scully. The forward was impressive when he came on against Dublin and after an injury ravaged couple of years, this will be his first start in almost two years.

The other change to the team comes in the full forward line where Clough-Ballacolla’s Stephen Bergin gets the nod. He replaces Rathdowney-Errill’s Mark Kavanagh who was also substitute early against Dublin.

LAOIS: Enda Rowland (Abbeyleix); Joe Phelan (Camross), Leigh Bergin (Shanahoe), Lee Cleere (Clough-Ballacolla); Podge Lawlor (Ballinakill), Matthew Whelan (Borris-Kilcotton), James Ryan (Rathdowney-Errill); Paddy Purcell (Rathdowney-Errill), Ben Conroy (Slieve Bloom); PJ Scully (Borris-Kilcotton), Cha Dwyer (Ballinakill), Willie Dunphy (Clough-Ballacolla); Ross King (Rathdowney-Errill), Neil Foyle (Borris-Kilcotton), Stephen Bergin Clough-Ballacolla).

ANTRIM: R Elliott; A Graffin, J Dillon, R McCambridge; J Maskey, C McKinley, P Burke; E Campbell, G Walsh; C Johnston, N McManus, M Armstrong; D McKinley, C McCann, N Elliott.

What’s the history between the sides?

The two sides squared off just under a month ago in O’Moore Park with Laois coming out five point winners thanks to an impressive 16 point haul by captain Ross King. Things have changed since with Laois losing two games to Offaly and Dublin, while Antrim claimed an inspiring win over Offaly the last day out.

What Antrim players should we watch out for?

Their stand-out performer to date has been centre-forward, Neil McManus. He notched up a big total to date and he always has a fine display striking frees. Nigel Elliot and Ryan McCambridge will also be threatening the Laois team.

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

Antrim have been on the side of close defeats and big loses, but they finally got over the line against Offaly last weekend. That win will surely give them confidence at home with their League status on the line.

What are the odds? 

Laois are currently 8/11 to save their place in Division 1B, while Antrim are 13/10 to beat Laois. A draw 9/1.

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. For those wanting to listen to commentary, it is believed Jack Nolan will be making the trip up to Dunloy having missed the trip to London last week, so tune into Midlands 103.

SEE ALSO – Two changes for Laois hurlers ahead of relegation clash with Antrim

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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!