Home Sport GAA Here’s your guide to the Laois U-20s first Leinster championship match against...

Here’s your guide to the Laois U-20s first Leinster championship match against Kildare

Laois minor Diarmuid Whelan, pictured here, has been nominated for minor player of the week
The Laois U-20 footballers begin tonight and Diarmuid Whelan will be part of the team

Brought to you in association with Telfords Portlaoise

After recent successes of the Laois minor and senior footballers, tonight sees the U-20s go into battle for the first time.

Billy O’Loughlin’s men are in a difficult group – with Kildare, Wicklow and Meath.

Tonight they travel to Newbridge to face a highly fancied Kildare side who will be stacked with players who won Leinster minor titles in recent years.

With just two teams set to qualify from the group, Laois need a good start but this will be difficult.

Starting Teams

The teams named ahead of tonight’s game are:

Laois: Matthew Byron (Courtwood); James Kelly (St Joseph’s), Diramuid Bennett (Portarlington), Richie Hitchcock (Park-Ratheniska); Conor Brennan (Ballyroan-Abbey), Shane Bolger (Kileshin), Seán O’Flynn (Courtwood); Rob Tyrell (Camross), Eoin Dunne (Rosenallis); David Connolly (Ballyfin), Peter Kealy (St Joseph’s), James Phelan (The Heath); John Kavanagh (Portlaoise), Diarmuid Whelan (Ballyroan-Abbey), Evan Lowry (Killeshin)

Kildare have not named their team yet.

What Kildare players should we watch out for?

As Kildare have not named their team and this is their first game in the competition, it is hard to say who will be their main men.

However, if we look back at their previous minor teams, they are stacked with players who can cause problems.

And unlike Laois who lost Finbarr Crowley after he played for Laois against Westmeath, none of the Kildare players played with their seniors in their defeat to Carlow so all of them are still available.

Jimmy Hyland, Jack Robinson and Brian McLoughlin are three worth watching out for though.

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

As previously mentioned, this is both Laois and Kildare’s first game of this brand new U-20 competition.

Both sides have played a number of challenge games but this will be their first competitive game.

What’s the history between the sides?

As this is a new competition, this is the first meeting of these teams at this level. However, Laois played Kildare in the minor final in 2016 and many players will be involved again tonight.

Laois are without four of the team from that day. Captain Seán Byrne, keeper Ross McGrath, midfielder Liam Delaney and attacker Johnny Kelly are not part of this panel.

Take a look at the teams and scorers from that game below:

Scorers – Kildare: Jimmy Hyland 0-7 (4f), Jack Robinson 1-1, Brian McLoughlin 0-3, Tony Archbold & Ciaran Kelly 0-2 each, Kevin Foley, Cian Costigan & Paddy Woodgate 0-1 each. Laois: Diarmuid Whelan 0-7 (4f), James O’Connor, Adam Deering & Ciaran Comerford 0-1 each.

Laois: Ross McGrath (Portarlington); James Kelly (St Joseph’s), Diarmuid Bennett (Portarlington), Richie Hitchcock (Park Ratheniska); Shane Bolger (Killeshin), Sean Byrne (Portarlington – captain); James O’Connor (Timahoe); Liam Delaney (Ballyroan Abbey), Max Connolly (Ballyfin); Finbarr Crowley (Emo), Adam Deering (Killeshin), Ciaran Comerford (The Harps); Alan Kinsella (Courtwood); Diarmuid Whelan (Ballyroan Abbey), Johnny Kelly (O’Dempsey’s) Subs: Robert Tyrell (Camross) for Delaney (h.t.), John Kavanagh (Portlaoise) for Johnny Kelly (h.t.), Mark McDermott (Killeshin) for Comerford (36), Evan Lowry (Killeshin) for Kinsella (42), Dylan Feane (Portlaoise) for Crowley (47), Caomhan Brennan (Arles-Kilcruise) for O’Connor (49)

Kildare: Luke Mullins (Naas); John O’Toole (Monasterevin), Mark Dempsey (Moorefield), David Shaw (Naas); Tony Archbold (Celbridge), Jason Gibbons (Kilcock), Sam Doran (Johnstownbridge/Balyna); David Marnell (Sarsfields), Aaron Masterson (Clogherinkoe/Balyna); Kevin Foley (Sallins), David Kelly (Carbury), Jack Robinson (Clogherinkoe/Balyna); Ciaran Kelly (Clane), Brian McLoughlin (Clane – captain), Jimmy Hyland (Ballyteague/Aylmer Gaels) Subs: Cian Costigan (Sarsfields) for Kelly (21), Paddy Woodgate (Raheens) for Foley (46), Danny O’Sullivan (Maynooth) for Archbold (50), James Burke (Naas) for McLoughlin (59)

What are the odds? 

Kildare are overwhelming favourites for this. They are 1/8 on while Laois are 5/1 with the draw 14/1.

When, where and how much?

7pm on Monday, May 28 in St Conleth’s Park Newbridge.
Adults: €10
Juveniles (U-16): Free
Students/Senior Citizens:- €5 with appropriate I.D.

SEE ALSO – Laois ‘hotter than Lanzarote’ as temperatures set to each 26 degrees

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.