The Laois U-20 footballers take on All-Ireland champions Kildare in Round 1 of the Leinster championship this evening.
Here we guide you through what you need to know:
When, where, what time?
The game throws in at 7.30pm in St Conleth’s Park, Newbridge.
Laois U-20 football boss Billy O’Loughlin named his starting team to face Kildare on Thursday.
Like last year in the case of Finbarr Crowley, the rule prohibiting those who play senior from playing U-20 has struck Laois again as Courtwood’s Sean O’Flynn and O’Dempsey’s Mark Barry are unavailable for this game.
Manager O’Loughlin has named his side and it features seven players who took on Kildare last year – Matthew Byron, Dean Brophy, Rob Tyrell, Eoin Dunne, Ronan Coffey, Alan Kinsella and captain Diarmuid Whelan.
LAOIS: Matthew Byron (Courtwood); Michael Dowling (Portlaoise), Seamus Lacey (Ballylinan), Alex Mohan (Portarlington); Colin Slevin (Portarlington), Jack Lacey (St Joseph’s), Dean Brophy (St Joseph’s); Rob Tyrell (Camross), Eoin Dunne (Rosenallis); Ronan Coffey (Portarlington), Michael Doran (Killeshin), Niall Dunne (Courtwood); Alan Kinsella (Courtwood), Dan McCormack (O’Dempsey’s), Diarmuid Whelan (Ballyroan-Abbey)
Kildare have named their team and just three players remain from their All-Ireland winning team from last year – keeper Aaron O’Neill, Mark Barrett, DJ Earley and Darragh Ryan.
KILDARE: Aaron O’Neill; Niall O’Sullivan, Mark Barrett, Caolan Halpin; Evin McGovern, DJ Earley, Darragh Ryan; James Carey, James Burke; Liam O’Flynn, Darragh Kirwan, Brian McDonnell; Colm Joyce, Luke Griffin, Jack Cully
What happened when the sides met last year?
These two clashed in Round 1 of the Leinster championship last year – Kildare’s first win on the road to their All-Ireland success against Mayo.
Four Laois goals had them eight points up with 20 minutes to play but Kildare came back to break Laois hearts – with Brian McLoughlin firing six points in that period.
They clawed back the deficit and ended up winning 1-17 to 4-6. Laois subsequently defeated Wicklow but lost to Meath in their final game as their campaign ended.
SCORERS – Laois: Evan Lowry 2-1, Diarmuid Whelan 2-3, James Kelly 0-1, Alan Kinsella 0-1 Kildare: Jimmy Hyland 1-6, Brian McLoughlin 0-6, Paddy Woodgate 0-2, Sam Doran, Niall Murphy and Darragh Ryan 0-1 each
Laois: Matthew Byron (Courtwood); James O’Connor (Timahoe), Diramuid Bennett (Portarlington), Richie Hitchcock (Park-Ratheniska); Conor Brennan (Ballyroan-Abbey), Shane Bolger (Kileshin), Seán O’Flynn (Courtwood); James Kelly (St Joseph’s), Eoin Dunne (Rosenallis); David Connolly (Ballyfin), Peter Kealy (St Joseph’s), James Phelan (The Heath); John Kavanagh (Portlaoise), Diarmuid Whelan (Ballyroan-Abbey), Evan Lowry (Killeshin). Subs: Alan Kinsella (Courtwood) for Kavanagh (ht), Rob Tyrell (Camross) for Dunne (45mins), Ronan Coffey (Portarlington) for Kealy (50mins), Dean Brophy (St Joseph’s) for Brennan (60mins), Caomhan Brennan (Arles-Kilcruise) for Phelan (60mins)
KILDARE: Aaron O’Neill; Stephen Comerford, Mark Dempsey, John O’Toole; Mark Barrett, Jason Gibbons, Ruadhan O’Giollain; Aaron Masterson, David Marnell; Paddy Woodgate, Sam Doran, Tony Archbold; Jimmy Hyland, Niall Murphy, Cian Costigan. Subs: Jack Barrett for Ryan (29mins), DJ Earley for Woodgate (37mins), Brian McLoughlin for O’Toole (37mins), Jack Bambrick for Comerford (41mins), Shane O’Sullivan for Marnell (47mins), Padraig Nash for Murphy (51mins).
What happened when these sides clashed at minor level in 2017?
Laois and Kildare met in the Leinster minor quarter final in 2017 and the Lillywhites once again came out on top in Newbridge.
Like in the U-20 game last year, Laois built up a big lead early on in the game but a scoreless period ultimately cost Noel Delaney’s side.
Laois led by seven points with fifteen minutes on the clock but failed to score again until the 43rd minute and it was this which cost them dearly in the end.
SCORERS – Laois: Niall Dunne 1-0, Jack Owens 0-1, Alan Kinsella 0-1, Ciarán Comerford 1-1, Mark Barry 0-2, Diarmuid Whelan 0-1 free Kildare: Darragh Ryan 1-2, David Kelly 0-4 (0-3rees), James Carey 0-1, David Foley 0-1 Shane O’Sullivan 0-4 (0-2free), Ger Cunnigham 0-1
LAOIS: Thomas McCann (Ballyroan-Abbey); Michael Dowling (Portlaoise), Seán O’Flynn (Courtwood), Daniel Comerford (The Harps); Killian Horgan (Annanough), Gary Saunders (Portlaoise), Ronan Coffey (Portarlington); Robert Tyrell (Camross), Seamus Lacey (Ballylinan); Niall Dunne (Courtwood), Diramuid Whelan (Ballyroan-Abbey), Ciarán Comerford (The Harps); Jack Owens (Emo), Alan Kinsella (Courtwood), Ronan McEvoy (Portlaoise). Subs: Mark Barry (O’Dempsey’s) for Lacey (40m), Damien McCaul (Annanough) for Kinsella (51mins), John Rogers (Ballyroan-Abbey) for Dunne (53mins), Dean Brophy (St Joseph’s) for Coffey (55mins, black card)
KILDARE: Aaron O’Neill; Daniel Reilly, Mark Barrett, Lee Loughnane; Adam Cronin, Niall O’Connor, Darragh Ryan; James Carey, David Kelly; Brian McDonnell, Niall O’Sullivan, Findlay Nairn; Shane O’Sullivan, Jack Cully, Darragh Kirwan. Subs: Caolan Halpin for Kelly (10mins, blood), David Kelly for Halpin (14mins, blood), Caolan Halpin for Carey (18mins), David Foley for Halpin (24mins), Evin McGovern for Loughnane (ht), Ger Cunningham for Ryan (40mins)
What will happen after this game?
If Laois win, they will face either Westmeath away on July 2 in the Leinster quarter final.
If they lose, they are out.
What are the odds?
Kildare are favourites here with odds of 1/2 while Laois are 2/1. The draw is 7/1.