The Leinster U-20 football championship gets underway tonight as once again Laois travel to Newbridge to begin their campaign.
Laois led here by eight points with 20 minutes to play last year but ended up on the wrong end of a 1-17 to 4-6 defeat as Ben McCormack came off the bench to revive Kildare.
It proved a crucial win for the Lillywhites who went on to top the group, win Leinster and then capture the first ever All-Ireland title at the new age grade which reverted from U-21 last year.
The format has changed this year with Leinster reverting to straight knock-out and the introduction of various league competitions – one of which Laois won.
Billy O’Loughlin’s charges were placed in the Andrew Corden Cup alongside Wexford, Tipperary, Carlow and Waterford where they won all their matches and claimed silverware at the grade for the first time since 2007.
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)
Billy O’Loughlin’s charges face All-Ireland champions Kildare in Newbride this evening at 7.30pm and you can follow all of the action as it happens below: