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LIVE BLOG: Follow the action as the Laois hurlers look to avoid relegation from Joe McDonagh Cup

Pairc Tailteann in Navan

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The Laois hurlers take on Meath in Round 5 of the Joe McDonagh Cup today, throw in in Navan is at 3pm.

Laois supporters would have hoped that today’s game could have been the one to seal a place in the first ever Joe McDonagh Cup final.

Instead it has been a disastrous campaign for Laois, one that has seen them lose to Westmeath, Kerry and Carlow – and another loss today would send them tumbling to the Christy Ring Cup, the third tier of hurling and the lowest grade the county will have ever have played at.

Today, the maths of it all is pretty simple. Meath haven’t won a game in this competition this season – but a win today would put them into the playoff and relegate Laois automatically.

A Laois win will mean they’ll be saved today – but will have to play a relegation playoff against the Christy Ring Cup champions on June 30. The only way Laois can finish fourth is by winning and hope that Kerry beat Antrim in Dunloy.

In that scenario Laois and Antrim would be the only two teams on four points but Laois would avoid the play off thanks to a better head to head record.

The Joe McDonagh Cup will consist of five teams next season, hence why the Christy Ring Cup winners aren’t guaranteed a place in next year’s competition.

The Christy Ring Cup semi-finals are on this weekend with London facing Wicklow and Kildare up against Derry. The final is down for decision in Croke Park next Saturday.

Laois manager Eamonn Kelly is under pressure heading into today’s game – with our columnist Jack Nolan writing extensively on the topic during the week.

SEE ALSO – Your guide to today’s Joe McDonagh Cup game between Laois and Kerry