Seven days after the Laois senior footballers lost their unbeaten start to the National Football League at home to Cavan, they are back on the road this afternoon.
Mike Quirke’s men are heading West to take on Clare in Cusack Park in Ennis at 2pm.
A win would see them back in contention for promotion while defeat would leave them scrapping to avoid relegation with three games to play.
When, where, what time?
This Sunday afternoon, Sunday, February 23, at 2pm in Cusack Park, Clare.
How much is it to get in?
Adult: €20; Student/Senior Citizen: €15; U-16s: FREE
Adult Patrons can avail of special discount of €5 on this price, providing they purchase tickets pre-event at a presale price of €15. Tickets must be purchased at least the day the before game in any Supervalu or Centra outlets or during the week in Laois GAA Office (9.30am to 5.30pm) to avail of the lower price.
What is the Laois team?
The Laois team that is named is the same as the one that started against Cavan last week.
It means that Mark Barry and Sean O’Flynn, who put in a serious shift on Friday night in the U-20 win over Kildare, are set to start again while there is once again no place for Graiguecullen’s Trevor Collins.
However, we would be very surprised if the 15 named below are the 15 that actually start come throw in.
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 Clare?
This is the first meeting between Laois and Clare since the final day of the Peter Creedon reign back in 2017 when the Munster men hammered the O’Moore’s in Portlaoise.
Clare ran out 2-18 to 0-14 winners in the end and the Laois side featured Mark Timmons, Trevor Collins, Eoin Buggie, Colm Begley, John O’Loughlin, Damien O’Connor, Gary Walsh, Brian Daly and Ross Munnelly who are still involved now.
LAOIS: Graham Brody; Darren Strong, Mark Timmons, Trevor Collins; Eoin Buggie, Padraig McMahon, Colm Begley; Brendan Quigley, John O’Loughlin; Alan Farrell, David Conway, Damien O’Connor; Stephen Attride, Donie Kingston, Gary Walsh. Subs: Niall Donoher for O’Connor (half-time), James Kelly for Buggie (49 mins), Ross Munnelly for Walsh (50 mins), Paul Kingston for Conway (50 mins), James Finn for Quigley (55 mins), Brian Daly for Attride (60 mins)
CLARE: Joe Hayes; Dean Ryan, Kevin Harnett, Gordon Kelly; Pierce Lillis, Sean Collins, Martin McMahon; Ciaran Russell, Gary Brennan; Cathal O’Connor, Jamie Malone, Cian O’Dea; Eoin Cleary, David Tubridy, Keelan Sexton. Subs: John Hayes for Russell (57 mins), Gearoid O’Brien for Turbidy (57 mins), Seanie Malone for Sexton (63 mins), Darren Nagle for O’Dea (63 mins), Eoghan Collins for Harnett (64 mins), Kieran Malone for Lillis (68 mins), Darragh Bohannon for S Collins (68 mins)
Clare are actually going for three wins in a row against Laois as back in 2016 in Round 2 of the All-Ireland Qualifiers, they won 0-14 to 1-10 in Ennis.
Laois recorded a facile win in 2013 when Clare were managed by Mick O’Dwyer.
What do we know about Clare?
They have one win and two defeats from their opening three games and sit below Laois in the relegation places.
Clare lost to Roscommon and Westmeath either side of a surprise win over Jack O’Connor’s Kildare.
They don’t have Gary Brennan or Jamie Malone with them this year but still possess attackers like David Tubridy, Eoin Cleary and Keelan Sexton who have caused Laois plenty of problems in the past.
They, like Laois, will view this as a must win game if they are to avoid relegation to Division 3.
There was one game played in the Division last night which saw Cavan defeat Fermanagh by 2-11 to 1-11 to move top of the table.
What is the Clare team?
CLARE: Stephen Ryan, Kevin Hartnett, Cillian Brennan, Jordan Kelly, Sean Collins, Pearse Lillis, Alan Sweeney, Dale Masterson, Cathal O’Connor, Cian O’Dea, Keelan Sexton, Dermot Coughlan; Eoin Cleary, David Tubridy, Gearoid O’Brien
What are the odds?
Not much in this with Laois the slight favourites at Evens. Clare are 6/5 while the draw is 6/1.
Who is the referee?
Mayo’s Liam Devenney is the man in the middle. He hasn’t refereed Laois in recent years but he was in charge last year when he controversially sent off Oisin Hooney in Knockbeg College’s All-Ireland U-16 football final loss.
What else is on this weekend?
After Cavan’s win over Fermanagh last night, there are two other games down for decision this afternoon.
Westmeath and Armagh meet in Mullingar in a top of the table clash at 2pm while Kidlare host Roscommon at 2.30pm.
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.