Home Sport GAA Here’s your guide to the Laois U-20s Leinster semi final clash with...

Here’s your guide to the Laois U-20s Leinster semi final clash with Meath

We’re back in O’Moore Park tonight as the Laois U-20 footballers take on Meath in the semi final of the Leinster championship.

Here we guide you through what you need to know:

When, where, what time?

The game throws in at 7.30pm in O’Moore Park, Portlaoise.

Team news

Laois U-20 football boss Billy O’Loughlin named his starting team to face Meath on Monday.

Like last year in the case of Finbarr Crowley, the rule prohibiting those who play senior from playing U-20 struck Laois again for the first two rounds as Courtwood’s Sean O’Flynn and O’Dempsey’s Mark Barry were unavailable.

However, with Laois eliminated from the competition on Saturday against Cork, the two lads are available for the first time and they come straight into the team from the start in place of Jack Lacey and Niall Dunne.

LAOIS: Matthew Byron (Courtwood); Michael Dowling (Portlaoise), Seamus Lacey (Ballylinan), Alex Mohan (Portarlington); Colin Slevin (Portarlington), Sean O’Flynn (Courtwood), Dean Brophy (St Joseph’s); Robert Tyrell (Camross), Eoin Dunne (Rosenallis); Ronan Coffey (Portarlington), Michael Doran (Killeshin), Mark Barry (O’Dempseys); Alan Kinsella (Courtwood), Dan McCormack (O’Dempsey’s), Diarmuid Whelan (Ballyroan-Abbey)

Meanwhile, Meath have named an unchanged team from the one that defeated Offaly to face Laois.

MEATH: Andrew Beakey; Sean Ryan, Robbie Clarke, Cathal Hickey; Eoin Harkin, John Keane, Oisin Martyn; Liam Byrne, Cian McBride; Matthew Costello, Cian Swaine, Daithi McGowan; Jordan Morris, Connell Ahearne, Luke Mitchell

How did both teams reach this stage?

Laois had to take part in a preliminary round where they face All-Ireland and Leinster champions Kildare in Newbridge two weeks ago.

Billy O’Loughlin’s charges trailed by a point at half time but led by captain Diarmuid Whelan they turned it around to win by three in the end.

He kicked ten points of Laois’s total with only a last minute Kildare penalty making it look a little closer than it was – 0-17 to 1-11.

Up next for Laois was Westmeath last week where they received an almighty shock and needed a late Alan Kinsella free to force extra time where they triumphed. 

Meath received a bye to the quarter final where they took on a fancied Offaly side and won 1-12 to 0-12.

When did Meath and Laois last meet at this level?

Laois last faced Meath at this level in 2001 in a Round 1 clash which Meath won 1-7 to 0-8 on their way to Leinster glory – the last time they have tasted provincial success at this level.

Before that, you have to go back 22 years for the next meeting.

It was a Leinster quarter final in Portlaoise in 1997 where Meath, then Leinster champions, were given an almighty scare by Laois.

Chris Conway and Ian Fitzgerald were two of Laois’s main players on that night and their scores had them ahead with five minutes to play when Meath were awarded a penalty. 

Ray McGee scored it and Meath advanced by 1-10 to 0-12 where they would go on to lift the title.

What do we know about this Meath team?

Players on this Meath team are very familiar to Laois as we have encountered them in 2017 and 2018 at minor level.

Meath’s team tonight features five players from their Leinster minor winning team from last year – Cathal Hickey, Conor Farrelly, Cian McBride, Matthew Costello and Luke Mitchell – who hammered Laois in the semi final. 

While it features eight players who represented the county at minor level in 2017 – Andrew Beakey, Sean Ryan, Robbie Clarke, John Keane, Cian Swaine, Liam Byrne, Conall Aherne and Jordan Morris – who lost to Laois by a point. 

What will happen after this game?

If Laois win, they will face either Dublin or Wexford in the final on Saturday July 19.

What are the odds?

The bookies are struggling to split the pair but Meath are slight favourites at 10/11 while Laois are 7/5. The draw is 15/2.

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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.