Storm Dennis forced this to be postponed on Saturday but we’re back here in MW Hire O’Moore Park for the Leinster U-20 quarter final between Laois and Westmeath.
Laois reached the final of this competition last year but were beaten by Dublin in the decider.
Laois U-20 manager Eddie Kinsella named his starting 15 for the Leinster quarter final against Westmeath last night – but it does not include senior players Mark Barry or Sean O’Flynn.
Last weekend’s Division 2 postponement of the clash between Laois and Cavan and its subsequent rescheduling to this Sunday threw up the prospect of the duo having to play two games in less than 24 hours.
However, LaoisToday understands that the Football Board of Laois GAA held meetings with both sets of management teams during the week and decided that Barry and O’Flynn should play for the seniors against Cavan instead of the U-20s.
This is a further blow to Kinsella’s charges who were already without the services of Niall Dunne (injured) and Colin Slevin (suspended) from the team that reached the Leinster U-20 final last year.
That said, the starting 15 still contains eight players who played a role in that Laois team who reached the decider in 2019 where they were defeated by Dublin.
Matthew Byron is in goals while Michael Dowling, Dean Brophy, Jack Lacey and Alex Mohan, who made his senior debut in the O’Byrne Cup this year, are all back this year.
Neil Keane and Gary Saunders are newcomers in defence while Barry Howlin comes into midfield with Damon Larkin a new face on the half forward line.
Midfielder PJ Daly, centre forward Jack Owens and captain Ronan Coffey were all on the team last year but it is a brand new full forward line.
Portarlington duo Sean Michael Corcoran and Darragh Galvin are joined here by St Joseph’s Josh Lacey – younger brother of wing back Jack.
If Laois can win this game, they will face Kildare in the semi final this Saturday in Portlaoise.
LAOIS: Matthew Byron (Courtwood); Michael Dowling (Portlaoise); Alex Mohan (Portarlington), Neil Keane (The Heath); Dean Brophy (St Joseph’s), Gary Saunders (Portlaoise), Jack Lacey (St Joseph’s); PJ Daly (The Heath), Barry Howlin (O’Dempsey’s); Ronan Coffey (Portarlington), Jack Owens (Emo), Damon Larkin (Portlaoise); Sean Michael Corcoran (Portarlington), Darragh Galvin (Portarlington), Josh Lacey (St Joseph’s)