Home Sport GAA Your guide to Laois’s Round 3 All-Ireland Qualifier clash v Offaly

Your guide to Laois’s Round 3 All-Ireland Qualifier clash v Offaly

Laois Senior Footballers

Brought to you in association with FREESOUL Portlaoise

Laois take on Offaly in Round 3 of the All-Ireland Football Qualifiers this evening.

Here we guide you through what you need to know:

When, where, what time?

The game throws in at 7pm in O’Moore Park, Portlaoise.

Team news

Ahead of the game, Laois boss John Sugrue has made two changes from the team that defeated Derry in Dungiven last week.

Sean O’Flynn is in at wing back for Trevor Collins while Damien O’Connor returns to the team in place of Conor Boyle.

Mark Timmons (broken hand) and Colm Begley (Achilles) are not named to start once again on Saturday.

The pair missed the Leinster semi final defeat to Meath three weeks ago having picked up the injuries in the quarter final win over Westmeath.

The Laois team actually shows seven changes from the side that defeated Offaly in the league earlier this year.

As well as the aforementioned Begley and Timmons, Trevor Collins, Marty Scully, Eoin Lowry, Benny Carroll and Ross Munnelly all started that day.

We will be in O’Moore Park on Saturday evening where we will bring you all the action as it happens on our Live Blog.

If Laois can win this game, they will go into the Round 4 draw where they will meet either Galway, Cavan or Cork.

They cannot play Meath if they reach this round having already met them this year in the Leinster semi final.

LAOIS: Graham Brody (Portlaoise); Stephen Attride (Killeshin), Denis Booth (The Heath), Gareth Dillon (Portlaoise); Sean O’Flynn (Courtwood), Robert Pigott (Portarlington), Patrick O’Sullivan (Portarlington); John O’Loughlin (St Brigid’s), Kieran Lillis (Portlaoise); Daniel O’Reilly (Griaguecullen), Donie Kingston (Arles-Killeen), Damien O’Connor (Timahoe); Paul Kingston (Arles-Killeen), Colm Murphy (Portarlington), Evan O’Carroll (Crettyard).

Meanwhile, Offaly have also named their team for the game and it is an unchanged one from the side which defeated Sligo last weekend.

From Laois’s meeting with Offaly in the league back in March, there are a number of positional switches but just one in personnel as veteran Niall McNamee is there instead of Paul McConway.

McConway started that game at wing back, a place now filled by Niall Darby. Cathal Mangan played midfield that day but he is in at wing forward with Peter Cunnigham moving to midfield and Anton Sullivan coming out to centre forward.

OFFALY: Paddy Dunican; Declan Hogan, Eoin Rigney, David Dempsey; Cian Donohoe, Johnny Moloney, Niall Darby; Eoin Carroll, Peter Cunningham; Shane Horan, Anton Sullivan, Cathal Mangan; Bernard Allen, Niall McNamee, Ruairi McNamee

What has Offaly’s form been like this season?

Offaly were somewhat unlucky to find themselves battling relegation in Division 3 of the league after a number of narrow defeats left them needing a favour from Laois in the final round.

Laois did them one by defeating Carlow and then Offaly got the better of Sligo to finish above Carlow in the table and stay up.

Offaly faced Meath in Round 1 of Leinster and led in the final ten minutes until an unfortunate error in defence allowed the Royals in for a goal which saw them win 1-13 to 0-14.

But Offaly have since re-grouped in the Qualifiers where they have easily swatted away the challenges of London and Sligo.

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

Since gaining promotion and winning Division 4 by defeating Longford back in 2015, Offaly have operated in Division 3 of the league.

They were unlucky not to achieve promotion in 2016, finishing third in Division 3, but they haven’t really threatened to do that since.

In last year’s Leinster championship they were beaten by Wicklow in the opening round of Leinster before losing to Clare in Round 2 of the Qualifiers having earlier beaten Antrim.

Who’s managing Offaly and what players should we watch out for?

John Maughan is in charge of Offaly having taken over from Paul Rouse who came in in a care-taker capacity last year following the removal of Kerry native Stephen Wallace. Maughan is a long time on the intercounty circuit having managed Clare, his native Mayo and Fermanagh previously.

In terms of players, Bernard Allen is a consistent source of scores from frees and play while Rhode’s Anton Sullivan, former Colaiste Iosagain student Peter Cunningham, Niall Darby, Ruari McNamee and big midfielder Eoin Carroll are decent players too.

Veteran Niall McNamee is also back in the starting 15 and he will require minding by the Laois backs.

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

Laois won this year’s encounter 2-12 to 0-15 and this time two years ago, Laois and Offaly played out a hugely entertaining game in Tullamore.

The counties had rarely met at such a low level with Offaly’s narrow one-point win consigning Laois to Division 4 football for the first time in 50 years.

Donie Kingston scored a whopping 3-4 that day but ended up on the losing side with Laois narrowly missing out on a draw as Darren Strong’s late effort tailed just wide. In the end Laois lost 3-15 to 4-11.

Laois were under the management of Peter Creedon at the time and while they recorded a decent championship win over Longford, they later suffered big losses to Kildare and Clare and Creedon stepped down after just one year in the role, to be replaced by John Sugrue.

Before that, you have to go back to 2006 for our most recent championship clash with Laois won 1-9 to 0-4 in a Qualifier.

Who’s the referee?

Meath man David Coldrick will be the man in the middle this evening. He last officiated an All-Ireland Qualifier involving Laois in 2014 where they defeated Fermanagh in O’Moore Park.

What other Qualifier games are on this weekend?

All the other Round 3 Qualifier games are also on this evening. Kildare host Tyrone at 5pm while Westmeath host Clare at 6pm.

Armagh travel to Mayo at 7pm in the remaining Qualifier game.

What are the odds?

Laois are 1/2 favourites with Offaly 9/4. The draw is 15/2.

How much is it to get in?

Ticket Information
Adults: €20.00
Juveniles: €5.00
Students/Seniors €15.00 available on matchday

Is there a curtain raiser?

No there is not.

SEE ALSO – GAA personalities set to collide as Laois face Clare in GAA Masters

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.