Brought to you in association with Joe Mallon Motors Portlaoise
Having come away very disappointed following last week’s one goal defeat to Westmeath, the Laois hurlers now face a tough task if they want to reach the final of the Joe McDonagh Cup and book a place in the All-Ireland series.
No slip ups can be afforded now, with another loss or even a draw making their chances all the more difficult.
But the Laois hurlers have showed grit and determination before, like in this year’s relegation final away to Antrim, in Dunloy.
Not many felt confident that Laois would show resolve and get the job done following two disappointing defeats but they came away securing their Division 1B status. Another show of character is need now if Laois want to achieve their goals this season.
Laois have made a number of changes ahead of the game. Neil Foyle is out with injury and he is replaced at full forward by Stephen Maher. Joe Phelan has been replaced in defence by Ryan Mullaney who goes to wing back with Podge Lawlor going into the corner.
James Ryan and Aidan Corby are also out with Cian Taylor and PJ Scully in instead. Cian Taylor will partner Paddy Purcell at midfield with PJ Scully into the full forward line and Willie Dunphy moving to wing forward.
LAOIS: Enda Rowland; Podge Lawlor, Leigh Bergin, Lee Cleere; Ryan Mullaney, Matthew Whelan, Eric Killeen; Paddy Purcell, Cian Taylor; Cha Dwyer, Ben Conroy, Willie Dunphy; Ross King, Stephen Maher, PJ Scully.
KERRY: Martin Stackpoole; Sean Weir, John Buckley, Bryan Murphy; Brandon Barrett, Daniel Collins, Tom Murnane; Shane Nolan, Brendan O’Leary; Daithi Griffin, Mikey Boyle, Barry O’Mahony; Jack Goulding, Padraig Boyle, Shane Conway.
What Kerry players should we watch out for?
Last weekend against Carlow, they Kerry full-forward line looked on fire as they provided 17 of Kerry’s 18 point haul, so Padraig Boyle, Shane Conway, and Jack Goulding will all require some marking. Frees will want to few and far between as Shane Conway has the ability to punish from all angles. Daniel Collins and Daithi Griffin are both two hard-working athletes so they will be good to keep an eye on.
What’s Kerry’s season been like so far?
Kerry began the year in historic fashion when they defeated the Cork hurlers 1-23 to 1-13 in the Munster Senior Hurling League, but when it came to Divsion 2A, things didn’t quiet work out as well. They failed against the two teams that finished above them, Carlow and Westmeath and that ultimately cost them a shot at promotion. Last weekend they traveled to Dr Cullen Park in Carlow where they ended up on the wrong side of a 0-21 to 0-18 points scoreline. So they too come into the game looking to turn their season around.
What’s the history between the sides?
These two have played some cracking close encounters in recent years and it was the Division 1B relegation play-off last year that stands out the most when Laois just edged Kerry after dramatic extra-time. The last championship meeting between these two was also in last year’s Leinster round-robin in which Laois secured a spot in the Leinster championship proper. Eamonn Kelly’s men won the game 2-21 to 3-15, which was also in Austin Stack Park, Tralee.
Here’s the scorers and teams from that game:
SCORERS – Kerry: Shane Nolan 2-6 (0-3 frees, 0-1 ’65), , Mickey Boyle 1-1 (0-1 free), Padraig Boyle 0-2 (frees), Jordan Conway 0-1, James O’Connor 0-1, John Buckley 0-1, Philip Lucid 0-1, John Griffin 0-1, Bryan Murphy 0-1,. Laois: Ross King 0-13 (11 frees, one ’65), Paddy Purcell 1-2, Neil Foyle 1-0, Aaron Dunphy 0-1, Sean Downey 0-1, Mark Kavanagh 0-1, Stephen Maher 0-1, Stephen Bergin 0-1, Aidan Corby 0-1,
LAOIS: Enda Rowland; Lee Cleere, Leigh Bergin, Dwane Palmer; Ciaran Collier, Cha Dwyer, Matthew Whelan; Ross King, Patrick Purcell; Sean Downey, Ryan Mullaney, Paddy Whelan; Aaron Dunphy, Neil Foyle, Stephen Maher. Subs: John Lennon for P Whelan (injured – 31 mins), Aidan Corby for Mullaney (injured – half-time), Mark Kavanagh for Downey (57 mins), Stephen Bergin for S Maher (63 mins), Brian Corby for Foyle 968
KERRY: Martin Stackpoole; James O’Connor, Rory Horgan, Sean Weir; John Buckley, Darren Dineen, Tom Murnane; Jack Goulding, Paudie O’Connor; Brendan O’Leary, Michael O’Leary, Jordan Conway; Padraig Boyle, Mickey Boyle, Shane Nolan. Sub: John Griffin for Goulding (57 mins), Maurice O’Connor for Conway (60 mins), Bryan Murphy for Murnane (63 mins), Philip Lucid for Nolan (67 mins)
What are the odds?
Laois going into the game as 8/15 favourites, with Kerry 7/4 to get their campaign back on track. A draw is 9/1.
When, where and how much?
3pm on Sunday, May 13th in Austin Stack Park, Tralee. It’s €15 for adults. Children U-16 go free.
Where can I follow the game?
For those wanting to listen to commentary, Jack Nolan will be on duty providing you blow by blow commentary, so tune into Midlands 103.