Walsh Cup – Laois v Carlow
In Netwatch Cullen Park at 2pm
Even after the incredible 2019 season enjoyed by the Laois hurlers, it’s hard to muster much enthusiasm for the opening competitive game of the 2020 season – a Walsh Cup encounter away to Carlow in Netwatch Cullen Park this afternoon.
The seasonally bad weather is one thing but coming ten days before Christmas and over two weeks before we’re even into 2020, means this is a game that nobody is welcoming with open arms.
Carlow hurler Paul Coady hit out at the scheduling of the Walsh Cup last week and Eddie Brennan isn’t a fan either.
His argument that playing two hurling inter-county competitions (as well as the Fitzgibbon Cup) in December, January and February, the three worst months of the year is lunacy is hard to argue with.
His Laois panel has been badly effected by injuries and withdrawals and while the pre-season competition gives valuable game time to newcomers, the reality is that they are going to be asked to be ready for National League hurling in less than six weeks.
Brennan’s Laois side will face a real baptism of fire in the 2020 season – with five league games in six weeks against Wexford, Dublin, Clare, Carlow and Kilkenny.
That’ll be followed by Leinster championship clashes against Wexford, Dublin, Kilkenny and Galway – a hectic schedule that will start in early May and be finished by the middle of June.
Today will be a far cry from summer championship hurling but after Laois got last week’s game against Dublin postponed due to a sheer lack of playing numbers, the journey has to start somewhere.
Carlow got the better of Westmeath last week in their opening game and will probably be a bit sharper.
Eddie Brennan named his starting team on Friday night. Throw in in Netwatch Cullen Park is 2pm.
Laois starting team:
- Enda Rowland (Abbeyleix)
- Liam Senior (Clonaslee)
- Matthew Whelan (Borris-Kilcotton)
- Donncha Hartnett (Mountmellick)
- Fiachra C Fennell (Rosenallis)
- Paudge Delaney (The Harps)
- Ciaran McEvoy (Portlaoise)
- Ciaran Comerford (The Harps)
- Ronan Broderick (Clough-Ballacolla)
- Aaron Dunphy (Borris-Kilcotton)
- Eoin Gaughan (Camross)
- James Ryan (Rathdowney-Errill)
- Ross King (Rathdowney-Errill)
- Willie Dunphy (Clough-Ballacolla)
- Aaron Bergin (Portlaoise)