Home Sport GAA Your guide as Laois hurlers face Kerry and make their claim for...

Your guide as Laois hurlers face Kerry and make their claim for a place in the Joe McDonagh final

The Laois hurlers take on Kerry in Round 4 of the Joe McDonagh Cup in Austin Stacks Park Tralee at 3pm today, Saturday June 8.

Laois have managed to win two games from two so far, defeating Offaly and Antrim.

One more win for the Laois hurlers would guarantee them a coveted place in the Joe McDonagh final, but the outcome of this round four clash is far from guaranteed.

Here we guide you through what you need to know ahead of the game:

Team news

Laois manager Eddie Brennan has made one change to the team which started in the round two game against Antrim.

Aaron Dunphy comes onto the team at wing-forward, while Cha Dwyer is named at midfield alongside John Lennon.

Jack Kelly slots into the wing-back role in place of the injured Lee Cleere.

What will come as a relief to Laois supporters is that Mark Kavanagh, who picked up an injury at training on at the weekend, is down to start on Eddie Brennan’s side this weekend.

LAOIS: Enda Rowland (St Lazerian’s Abbeyleix); Donnacha Hartnett (Mountmellick), Matthew Whelan (Borris-Kilcotton), Joe Phelan (Camross); Jack Kelly (Rathdowney-Errill), Ryan Mullaney (Castletown), Padraig Delaney (The Harps),; John Lennon (Rosenallis), Cha Dwyer (Ballinakill); Aaron Dunphy (Borris-Kilcotton), Willie Dunphy (Clough-Ballacolla), Paddy Purcell (Rathdowney-Errill); Mark Kavanagh (Rathdowney-Errill), Eanna Lyons (Ballyfin), Ross King (Rathdowney-Errill).

Kerry have not yet named their team.

What have Kerry been like in the last couple of seasons?

In 2017 Kerry finished third on the league table, one ahead of Laois. Out of the five league matches, they won two games over Laois and Meath and lost out to Carlow, Westmeath and Antrim.

What’s Laois’s recent history like against Kerry?

Last year, Kerry dashed Laois’s Joe McDonagh Cup hopes as the Kingdom annihilated Laois 3-20 to 0-19 in Kerry.

Laois experienced a dreadful end to the first half. After missing several goal chances, Kerry eventually got a second via Brendan O’Leary and Laois were reduced to 14 men after a straight red card was shown following an incident after the goal.

And Kerry weren’t finished there either. Shane Nolan reeled off 1-1 before half time and  they trailed by 3-10 to 0-9 at the break.

2017 was a different story, as the Laois hurlers completed the then Round Robin stages unbeaten with a win over Kerry.

The Laois senior hurlers completed the Round Robin stages of the Leinster SHC with a hard-earned win over Kerry in Tralee.

Who’s the referee?

The man in the middle for this game is Johnny Murphy of Limerick. Murphy has already refereed an intercounty game involving Laois this year.

He oversaw the national hurling league division 1B opener where Laois came up against Galway, losing by 11 points.

What other Joe McDonagh Cup game is on this weekend?

Another game set to be hotly contested this weekend is Antrim v Westmeath in Dunloy, Antrim, at 2pm.

If Antrim defeat Westmeath this weekend the Saffrons would go through to the final with Laois, as they would move four points ahead of Westmeath.

While a Westmeath win, coupled with a Laois win over Kerry, would see Westmeath require just a draw in their final game with Laois to guarantee a final spot.

So it really is all to play for.

What are the odds on the game? 

Laois are odds on favourites to win at 1/3, while Kerry are on 11/4. A draw is 10/1.

How much is it to get in?

Adults are €10 and students are €5 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 of the ball. The game will also be shown on GAANow.