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What you need to know as Laois minor hurlers aim for Leinster semi final place v Wexford

The Laois minor hurlers take on Wexford in the quarter final of the Leinster championship this afternoon.

Here we guide you through what you need to know:

When, where, what time?

Laois take on Wexford at 12.30pm on Saturday June 8 in O’Moore Park, Portlaoise.

Team news

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

There is one change made from the team which started in their qualifier game for the quarter-final.

Kevin Mulhall from Clough-Ballacolla replaces Rathdowney-Errill’s Dylan Carroll at midfield.

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), Noah Quinlan (Borris-Kilcotton); Tomas Keyes (Camross), Kevin Mulhall (Clough-Ballacolla); Cathal O’Shaughnessy (Ballinakill), David Dooley (Rosenallis), Tadhg Cuddy (Castletown); Cian O’Shaughnessy (Ballinakill), James Duggan (The Harps), Adam Kirwan (Mountrath)

Wexford have not yet named their team.

What way does this competition work?

The championship was initially 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 WestmeathKildare and Antrim in the group stages, Laois finished top of Tier 2 and will play in Tier 1 next year.

This meant they went straight into Round 2 of the Leinster championship where they eased past Westmeath again to set up this quarter final tie.

Fixtures:
Round 1: Laois 2-21 Westmeath 0-7
Round 2: Kildare 2-10 Laois 1-14
Round 3: Antrim 0-14 Laois 6-20
Knock Out Stages (Round 1) – May 18
A. Kildare 7-35 Down 0-5
B. Antrim 2-12 Meath 3-12
c. Westmeath 2-13 Carlow 0-18
1st in Tier 2 Laois (bye)
Preliminary Qt-Finals (Round 2) – May 25
Laois 3-30 Westmeath 0-6
Kildare 7-27 Meath 1-7
Quarter-Finals – June 8
Kildare v Offaly
Laois v Wexford
Semi-Finals – June 15
Seeded
Kilkenny v Lowest place qualifier
Dublin 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 uncertainty 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.

And Laois completed the Tier by thrashing Antrim before doing the same to Westmeath again in Round 2.

What have Wexford been like at minor level?

Wexford have won seven Leinster minor hurling titles but you have to go all the way back to 1985 for their most recent success.

The yellow-bellies have been runners-up a whopping 25 times, more than anyone else in the province, and most recently in 2016.

This year, Wexford defeated Offaly and then lost to Kilkenny setting up a winner-takes-all clash with Dublin for a semi final place.

They came from eight points down to snatch a draw thanks to an AJ Redmond free but they finished third in the group on points difference.

What happened when the sides met last year?

Laois and Wexford clashed in Round 1 of Tier 1 last year and although Laois went down by six points in the end, there was very little between the teams.

AJ Redmond scored 13 points in a 1-21 to 0-18 win for Wexford and Laois will be determined to keep the concession of frees to a minimum today as he is deadly accurate.

Five of the Laois team who played in Wexford Park will be on show again this afternoon – Danny Brennan, Fionan Mahoney, Tadhg Cuddy, Cathal O’Shaughnessy and Adam Kirwan.

Manager Enda Lyons will be hoping that their experience will prove crucial.

Fixture clash

Saturday is a bit of a mental day for Laois GAA fans who will be thorn in three different directions this afternoon.

The Laois minor hurlers throw in at 12.30pm while the Laois U-20 footballers face Carlow in Netwatch Cullen Park at 1pm in Round 3 of the Andrew Corden Cup.

Meanwhile, at 3pm in Tralee, the Laois senior hurlers will aim to reach the Joe McDonagh Cup final against Kerry in their second last game.

The timing of the senior game is particularly problematic for manager Enda who’s son Eanna will be playing at the far side of the country against the Kingdom.

SEE ALSO – Long-serving Laois school principal reflects on his 40-year teaching career as he gets set to retire