The Laois senior footballers are back in Croke Park this afternoon for the sixth time in the last 15 months as they face Meath in the Leinster championship semi final.
John Sugrue’s men are looking to reach the Leinster football final for the second year running but standing in their way is a revitalized Meath outfit.
Here, we will guide you through all you need to know ahead of today’s big game.
Manager John Surgue named his team on Friday night and he has made two changes enforced to the team that started in the win over Westmeath two weeks ago.
Graiguecullen full back Mark Timmons is out with a broken hand and his place in the team goes to Stephen Attride with Denis Booth moving to full back.
Meanwhile, the second change sees Stradbally’s Colm Begley, who limped off in the final stages of the Westmeath game, replaced by Robbie Pigott.
LAOIS: Graham Brody (Portlaoise); Stephen Attride (Killeshin), Denis Booth (The Heath), Gareth Dillon (Portlaoise; Sean O’Flynn (Courtwood), Robbie Pigott (Portarlington), Paddy O’Sullivan (Portarlington); John O’Loughlin (St Brigid’s), Kieran Lillis (Portlaoise); Daniel O’Reilly (Graiguecullen), Conor Boyle (Portlaoise), Damien O’Connor (Timahoe); Paul Kingston (Arles-Killeen), Colm Murphy (Portarlington), Evan O’Carroll (Crettyard)
For Meath from the team that defeated Carlow, James McEntee replaces Padraic Harnan.
MEATH: Andrew Colgon; Seamus Lavin, Conor McGill, Shane Gallagher; James McEntee, Donal Keoghan, Gavin McCoy; Bryan Menton, Adam Flanagan; Cillian O’Sullivan, Bryan McMahon, Ben Brennan; Sean Tobin, Michael Newman, Thomas O’Reilly
What has Meath’s season been like so far?
Meath were in Division 2 in the league this season and they gained promotion to Division 1.
They lost the league final to Donegal but Andy McEntee’s will still play at the top tier of the football ladder next season.
In the championship, they had an unconvincing 1-13 to 0-14 win over Offaly in Round 1 of Leinster before putting in a far better performance against Carlow two weeks ago.
They ran out 2-18 to 0-9 winners and go into this game as favourites.
What’s the history between the sides?
In terms of championship history, the most recent meeting between the teams came in the All-Ireland Qualifiers in 2012.
They clashed in Tullamore in Round 4 of the competition where Laois ran out 1-15 to 1-12 winners with Ross Munnelly’s first half penalty proving crucial as the O’Moore men reached the All-Ireland quarter final where they lost to Dublin.
Laois have developed a decent championship record over Meath having won three of their last four meetings – 2012, 2006 and 2004. The odd one out is Meath’s replay win over Laois in 2010 in the Leinster quarter-final, the last time the sides met in Leinster.
Who’s the referee?
Joe McQuillan of Cavan will be the man in the middle in Croke Park for the Laois v Meath game. It seems he hasn’t reffed a Laois game since 2013 when the O’Moore’s played Derry in Celtic Park and scored a point that wasn’t given.
What are the odds?
Meath are 1/2 favourites for this game with Laois 9/4. The draw is 15/2.
When, where and how much?
2pm on Sunday, June 9 in Croke Park.
Hogan Stand – (No Concessions) Pre-Purchase: €30.00 Match-Day: €35.00
Cusack Stand – Adult Pre-Purchase: €30.00 Match-Day €35.00 Juveniles(U-16): €5.00
Davin Stand – Adult Pre-Purchase: €30.00 Match-Day €35.00 Juveniles(U-16): €5.00
Hill 16 – (No Concessions) Pre-Purchase: €20.00 Match-Day: 25.00
Note: Juveniles (U-16) must be accompanied by an Adult
Students & Senior CItizens(Cusack & Davin Stand Only):
Purchase full price tickets and on the day of the match they can claim a rebate of €10 when they produce appropriate ID at Block D, Stiles 1 to 5 in the Cusack Stand(Rebate can only be claimed on entry into the stadium via Block D prior to ENTERING THE STADIUM)
Where can I follow the game?
We’ll be live-blogging the game on LaoisToday.ie.
Is there a curtain raiser?
No but there is a second game. Dublin face Kildare in the other semi final at 4pm.
What will happen after this game?
If Laois win, they will return to Croke Park on June 23 to face either Dublin or Kildare in the Leinster final.
But if they lose, they will go into the Round 2 Qualifier draw on Monday morning at 8.45am on RTE Radio One with the next round of that scheduled for June 15/16.