This day two weeks ago the Laois senior hurlers began life in the new Joe McDonagh Cup championship, a competition for the teams operating below the elite level.
Where once Laois regularly came up against the likes of Kilkenny, Galway or Wexford in the Leinster championship and got occasional outings against some of the big Munster teams in the All Ireland Qualifiers, a new system introduced for 2018 sees them excluded from that top table.
Instead they’d compete against Antrim, Meath, Kerry, Carlow and Westmeath in a round robin competition played over a hectic six-week period in May and June.
Laois started the competition as favourites but disappointing defeats to Westmeath and Kerry have them almost out of contention before we’ve even reached the mid-way stage.
This afternoon they take on an Antrim side with two wins to their name already. Another loss for Laois would officially end their hopes – but a win would keep their slim chances alive for another couple of weeks at least anyway.
Laois have already beaten Antrim twice this year in the league and will be hoping they can continue that level of dominance over the Ulster side. Throw-in in Dunloy is at 1.30pm.
The Laois minor hurlers are also in action this afternoon. They went down to Wexford last week in the opening round of the Leinster minor championship but this is also in group stages and they take on Dublin in O’Moore Park at 3.30pm.
We will be live blogging both games.