Laois took on Carlow in Netwatch Cullen Park yesterday afternoon in Round 1 of the Walsh Cup.
Eddie Brennan’s men made a winning start to 2020 season with a 3-19 to 0-22 win.
We took a closer look at how the game panned out.
1 – Man of the Match – Ronan Murray
What a debut for the Rosenallis man who finished 2019 on a real high.
He scored 1-2 and was a real live-wire throughout the game – winning a number of the frees that Eoin Gaughan converted.
2 – A host of impressive debutantes
Walsh Cup is all about new faces and Laois manager Eddie Brennan handed out a host of debuts.
The aforementioned Murray, Liam Senior, Fiachra C-Fennell, Frank Flanagan, Joe Phelan, Cormac Rigney and teenager Allan Connolly all got their first taste of senior action and acquitted themselves very well.
3 – Aaron Dunphy and Podge Delaney excel
With the likes of Stephen Maher, Cha Dwyer and Ben Conroy not part of the squad this year and Mark Kavanagh set for a spell on the sideline with injury – other players are going to have to stand up for Laois in 2020.
Aaron Dunphy and Podge Delaney, who were both very good last season, look to have bulked out a bit more now and were both vert impressive. Dunphy picked up a nasty looking hand injury before half time though so hopefully he won’t be out for long.
4 – Attendance reflect time of the year
There was no more than 100 people in Netwatch Cullen Park on Sunday afternoon – another reason why inter-county GAA should not be on at this time of year.
The game was played just nine days before Christmas and most people have other things on their mind – and who could blame them.
5 – Return of James Ryan
We broke news of departures from the squad last week but it was certainly positive to see one player return to the fold after a year away.
Rathdowney-Errill’s James Ryan missed the 2019 season but returned yesterday and contributed a point. He will certainly add depth to the squad.
6 – No St Mullin’s players for Carlow
While some Rathdowney-Errill players did appear for Laois, Carlow were without their St Mullin’s contingent who lost the Leinster final to Ballyhale Shamrocks three weeks ago.
They only had five subs and ten of their players came from Mount Leinster Rangers – once again demonstrating the tiny playing pool that they have to pick from.
7 – What’s Next?
Laois can now enjoy Christmas before going back into action at home to Westmeath on Sunday January 5.
If they win that game, they will set up a winner-takes-all clash with Dublin on Wednesday January 8.
Dublin defeated Westmeath yesterday and will be favourites to beat Carlow too. Whoever tops this group will progress to the Walsh Cup semi finals where Galway, Kilkenny and Wexford are waiting.