When the draws were made for the new format Laois senior hurling championship we didn’t expect to get as big a game so early on.
Tonight Rathdowney-Errill and Camross meet in O’Moore Park where will defeat will leave one of these sides just hanging on in this championship.
For Camross, the stakes are incredibly high. Lose and their championship fate will be out of their hands – a Clough-Ballacolla win over Castletown Gaels on Sunday would not only knock Camross out but it would also put them into a relegation decider. Rathdowney-Errill do have one point on the board following their opening draw with Ballacolla but a loss here would leave them fairly rattled too.
Both sides have improving to do on their opening round displays. While Rathdowney-Errill produced a stunning final quarter against Ballacolla to come from five points down and almost actually snatched the win, Camross barely raised a gallop in their six-point loss to Castletown, a defeat that would have been even worse was it not for a late Zane Keenan free.
It was certainly an underwhelming start to the defence of the title they won so spectacularly last autumn.
Both sides were understrength in their opening games, Rathdowney-Errill lining out without both Joe Fitzpatrick and Ross King. If both are those are in the starting team, then they’re a different animal entirely.
It’ll also be interested to see if Tadhg Dowling – who scored three points from play when he came on – starts and how they use Paddy Purcell, after he proved far more influential when he was moved out the field after originally starting at full-forward two weeks ago against Ballacolla.
Camross should welcome back some of their missing men from the last night, Martin Burke, Gearoid Burke and Darrell Dooley all now available again after suspension. Dwane Palmer, though, is still in the US.
You can follow all of the action in our Live Blog below while we’ll also bring you updates from the Laois JHC ‘A’ game between Portlaoise and Mountmellick in Rathleague.