After last week’s thrilling draw away to Roscommon, the Laois footballers are back in action this evening when they host Armagh in Round 2 of their Allianz Football League Division 2 campaign.
Laois have a good record against Armagh in recent times and will be looking to pick up another positive result in what is a really competitive game.
When, where, what time?
This evening (Saturday, February 1) at the earlier than usual time of 6pm in MW Hire O’Moore Park, Portlaoise.
How much is it to get in?
What is the Laois team?
The Laois team shows one change from the side that drew with Roscommon last Sunday.
Graiguecullen’s Brian Byrne is set to make his first league start at corner-back as he comes in in place of his club-mate Trevor Collins, who has had a busy time of late with Laois and IT Carlow in the Sigerson Cup. Byrne was a second-half sub against Roscommon.
Kieran Lillis is again named at full-forward though he spent most of last week’s game at midfield. The Armagh team hasn’t been named yet.
The Laois team in full is: Niall Corbet (Clonaslee); Brian Byrne (Graiguecullen), Mark Timmons (Graiguecullen), Gearoid Hanrahan (Mountmellick); Sean O’Flynn (Courtwood), Robbie Pigott (Portarlington), Paddy O’Sullivan (Portarlington); John O’Loughlin (Rosenallis), Sean Byrne (Portarlington); Michael Keogh (St Joseph’s), Colm Murphy (Portarlington), Eoin Lowry (Killeshin); Mark Barry (O’Dempsey’s), Kieran Lillis (Portlaoise), Evan O’Carroll (Crettyard)
What’s Laois’s record like against Armagh?
It’s actually quite good with Laois winning six of their last seven meetings in league and championship.
The last time Laois played Armagh in the league was in 2017 in Peter Creedon’s second game in charge and though relegated that year from Division 3, an understrength Laois team recorded a 2-11 to 0-16 win.
Laois also recorded a one-point win – 1-13 to 0-15 – under Mick Lillis in 2016 when they met in Division 2. They also beat Armagh twice in the championship that summer in O’Moore Park, the second game necessary as Laois used too many subs in the first game.
Armagh were big winners in their 2014 league clash in Armagh – 2-18 to 1-12 – but Laois won their meetings in 2013 (Division 2) and 2012 (Division 1).
Going back further, Laois recorded a Division 1 league semi-final win in 2003 over Armagh in Croke Park under Mick O’Dwyer when Armagh were All Ireland champions and in a Division 2 semi-final in 2002.
That league dominance didn’t translate to championship success, however, as Armagh were triumphant in the 2003 and 2005 All Ireland quarter-finals.
What do we know about Armagh?
They look to be going well if the evidence of their 2-18 to 1-8 win over Cavan last weekend is anything to go by. Young full-forward Conor Turbitt scored 1-6, 1-5 of it from play.
Kieran McGeeney is in his sixth season in charge and though beaten in the Ulster semi-final after a replay last year by Cavan, they enjoyed a thrilling season, beating Down by a replay in the opening round of the championship, drawing with Cavan and then beating Monaghan and only losing by a point to Mayo in the Qualifiers in Castlebar.
What’s the Armagh team like for tonight?
What are the odds?
Laois are again the outsiders and are priced at 5/2 with Armagh at 2/5 and the draw at 15/2. Armagh are -3 on the handicap.
Armagh are second favourites to win Division 2 at 7/4 just behind favourites Kildare who are 6/4. Laois are 16/1.
To be promoted, Armagh are 4/7, behind only Kildare at 4/9. Laois are 6/1.
When it comes to relegation, Laois are now 2/1 and ahead of Clare (8/15), Cavan (evens) and Fermanagh (11/10).
Who is the referee?
Mayo’s Jerome Henry is the man in the middle and the Laois players will be familiar with him from last year’s All Ireland Qualifier win over Derry in Dungiven as well as last year’s Division 3 league final loss to Westmeath in Croke Park.
What else is on this weekend?
In the other Division 2 games this weekend, Cavan host Westmeath this evening while tomorrow Clare are at home to Kildare and Fermanagh are at home to Roscommon.
In Division 1 Kerry are at home to Galway on Saturday and Mayo are at home to Mayo. On Sunday, Monaghan meet Tyrone and Meath meet Donegal.
Of our neighbouring counties, Offaly are at home to Longford in Division 3 with Carlow away to Wexford in Division 4.
Where can I follow the action?
It’s not on TV but you can expect updates from both Midlands 103 and RTE on radio. As always, LaoisToday will be live blogging the entire game.