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What you need to know as Laois minor hurlers aim to stay top of tier 2 in last group game against Antrim

The Laois minor hurlers take on Antrim in Round 3 of Tier 2 of the Leinster championship this afternoon.

Here we guide you through what you need to know:

When, where, what time?

Laois take on Antrim at 3pm on Saturday May 11 in Lawless Memorial Park, Swords (Fingallians GAA).

Team news

Laois minor hurling manager Enda Lyons named the starting 15 for this weekend’s clash yesterday.

Four changes have been made to the team which defeated Kildare by a point last weekend.

Ballyfin’s Darragh Lyons comes into the goals in place of Finnian Cuddy while Lawson Obular starts in place of Abbeyleix clubmate Ned Fitzpatrick in the full back line.

Borris-Kilcotton’s Noah Quinlan starts at wing forward with David Dooley moving to full forward in place of Cathal O’Shaughnessy.

The final switch sees Rathdowney-Errill’s Padraig Rafter make his first appearance of the season in place of DJ Callaghan.

LAOIS: Darragh Lyons (Ballyfin); Lawson Obular (St Lazerian’s Abbeyleix), Danny Brennan (Park-Ratheniska-Timahoe), Ian Shanahan (Ballinakill); Cian Conroy (Clonaslee St Manman’s), Fionan Mahony (St Lazerian’s Abbeyleix), Brian Bredin (Mountrath); Tomas Keyes (Camross), Tadhg Cuddy (Castletown); James Duggan (The Harps), Dan Delaney (Camross) Noah Quinlan (Borris-Kilcotton); Adam Kirwan (Mountrath), David Dooley (Rosenallis), Padraig Rafter (Rathdowney-Errill)

What way does this competition work?

The championship is split into three tiers. The top two Tier 1 teams head for the semi finals and the bottom two go qualify for the quarter finals.

The Tier 2 and Tier 3 teams then play each other for positions in the Round 1 and Round 2 stage.

After wins over Kildare and Westmeath, Laois sit top of Tier 2 ahead of this weekend’s game against Antrim.

If they avoid defeat, they go straight into Round 2 of the Leinster championship.

Round 1: Laois 2-21 Westmeath 0-7
Round 2: Kildare 2-10 Laois 1-14
Round 3: Antrim v Laois
Knock Out Stages (Round 1) – May 18
A. 1st in Tier 3 v 4th in Tier 2
B. 2nd in Tier 3 v 3rd in Tier 2
c. 3rd in Tier 3 v 2nd in Tier 2
1st in Tier 2 (bye)
Preliminary Qt-Finals (Round 2) – May 25
Winners of A, B, C and 1st in Tier 2
Quarter-Finals – June 8
Seeded Draw
Bowl 1 – 2 Teams from Tier 1
Bowl 2 – 2 Winners from Round 2
Semi-Finals – June 15
ie 1st in Tier 1 v Lowest place qualifier
2nd in Tier 1 v 2nd lowest placed qualifer
Final – June 29

What have Laois been like at this grade in recent seasons? 

Last year was the first time that the minor grade introduced a new age limit of U-17 instead of U-18.

The format of the competition also changed in Leinster with the province being divided into three tiers.

Laois were in Tier 1 last year alongside Wexford, Dublin and Kilkenny. They began away to Wexford and put in a great performance but went down by 1-21 to 0-18 in the end. 

Next up was a home clash with eventual Leinster champions Dublin who won by 2-21 to 0-7. 

Laois’s final group game was against Kilkenny where they also lost by 1-26 to 1-12. However, all Tier 1 teams qualified for the Leinster quarter finals and Laois now squared up against Offaly who topped Tier 2.

But Laois would go down in that game by 2-19 to 1-14 to end the 2018 campaign without a victory.

Laois have begun their 2019 campaign well with a comfortable 2-21 to 0-7 win over Westmeath in O’Moore Park.

It was a much tighter and there was much more uncertainity as  to whether or not Laois will pull out a win against Kildare last weekend.

They narrowly pulled off a point victory against the home side to stay in the top spot of tier 2.

What have Antrim been like at minor level?

So far this season Antrim sit on third place in the table – with a 2-23 to 2-8 win over Westmeath and a loss to Kildare.

Antrim have actually been a part of this Leinster championship for over four decades – and came runner-up in the Leinster final against Kilkenny in 1979.

They have not reached a Leinster final since.

What other games are on today?

In Tier 2 which is Laois’s group, Westmeath play Kildare in Westmeath’s Cusack Park at 2pm.

The full fixtures are as follows:

Tier 1: 

Kilkenny v Offaly in Nowlan Park at 4.45pm
Wexford v Dubin in Bellefield, Enniscorthy at 2pm

Tier 3:

Down v Carlow in Lawless Memorial Park, Swords (Fingallians GAA) at 1pm

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Siún Lennon joined LaoisToday in a full-time capacity after studying Journalism and New Media in the University of Limerick. She hails from Rosenallis and her interests vary from news, sports and politics.