Laois take on Offaly in Round 1 of the Joe McDonagh Cup at 7pm in Tullamore this evening.
This is the first championship meeting between the teams since 2015 and it is their first ever clash in the Joe McDonagh Cup following Offaly’s relegation last year.
Here we guide you through what you need to know:
When, where, what time?
The match throws-in in O’Connor Park, Tullamore on Saturday, May 11 at 7pm.
Laois boss Eddie Brennan has made five changes to the team from the one that started against Limerick in the quarter final if the National Hurling League.
Most notably is the instant inclusion of former Laois senior hurling captain Ross King who returns to the team.
John Lennon is in in midfield in place of Sean Downey while Cha Dwyer comes in for the injured Aaron Dunphy.
Willie Dunphy, Eanna Lyons and Ross King come into the team in place of Mark Dowling, Neil Foyle and Stephen Bergin.
LAOIS: Enda Rowland (St Lazerian’s Abbeyleix); Joe Phelan (Camross), Matthew Whelan (Borris-Kilcotton), Donnacha Hartnett (Mountmellick); Lee Cleere (Clough-Ballacolla), Ryan Mullaney (Castletown), Padraig Delaney (The Harps); Jack Kelly (Rathdowney-Errill), John Lennon (Rosenallis); Cha Dwyer (Ballinakill), Willie Dunphy (Clough-Ballacolla), Paddy Purcell (Rathdowney-Errill); Mark Kavanagh (Rathdowney-Errill), Eanna Lyons (Ballyfin), Ross King (Rathdowney-Errill)
Offaly manager Kevin Martin has made five changes to the Offaly team that lost their relegation playoff against Carlow back in March.
Damien Egan, Aidan Treacy, Shane Kinsella, Sean Dolan and Kevin Connolly all drop out of the team with Tom Spain, David O’Toole-Greene, Oisin Kelly, Conor Mahon and Cillian Kiely coming in.
OFFALY: Eoghan Cahill; Tom Spain, Niall Houlihan, Paddy Delaney; Colm Gath, Pat Camon, Ben Conneely; David O’Toole-Greene, Kevin Dunne; Oisin Kelly, Conor Mahon, Colin Egan; Shane Dooley, Joe Bergin, Cillian Kiely
What have Offaly been like in the last couple of seasons?
Offaly’s fall from grace over the last few years has been well documented.
They failed to win a game in last year’s Leinster championship and were relegated out of the Liam McCarthy down to the Joe McDonagh.
Their league campaign didn’t go much better this year either as they lost all of their games bar one – against Carlow, who they ended up losing to in a relegation final subsequently.
What’s Laois’s recent history like against Offaly?
Laois’s recent history with Offaly varies in results.
In 2017 Laois had a relieving win over the Faithful county in division 1B – on a scoreline of 1-26 to 1-20.
However last year saw Laois’s inaccuracy cost them two points as Offaly walked away victors – 1-21 to 1-16.
Their most recent meetings were this year in the Walsh Cup and Division 1B – both games saw Laois win.
Who’s the referee?
The man in the middle for this Round 1 game is Antrim native Colum Cunning. He last officiated a Laois game earlier this year when they hosted Waterford in the league.
What other Joe McDonagh Cup game is on this weekend?
Antrim host Kerry in the other game on this evening at 5pm in Dunloy.
As there are five teams taking part this year, one team will have a bye each time and this weekend it is Westmeath.
What are the odds on the game?
Offaly go into the game at slight favourites at 10/11 while Laois are 11/10. While the draw is 8/1,
How much is it to get in?
Adults are €10 while OAPs and U16s go free.
Where can I follow the game?
We’ll be live-blogging the game on LaoisToday.ie so you won’t miss a puck.