While plenty of the local attention has been on the return of the club GAA fixtures, there is still a significant season for our county teams to look forward to in the autumn.
In a much-shortened season, the Laois hurlers will meet Dublin in the opening round of the Leinster championship in what will be a repeat of last year’s thrilling All Ireland Qualifier in O’Moore Park, which Laois won.
That game will take place on October 24/25, four weeks after the Laois hurling final weekend.
County teams are only permitted to return training from September 14 though the anecdotal evidence is that many counties are returning sooner.
Should Laois win that game, then they will face a short turnaround before playing Kilkenny in the Leinster semi-final a week later. Galway and Wexford are in the other semi-final.
With the round robin system scrapped in the provincial hurling championships, there is a return to the Qualifier system previously used so should Laois lose either against Dublin or Kilkenny, they would go into the Qualifiers along with the other six teams that don’t reach the Leinster or Munster final.
Those six teams would be reduced to two to play the beaten provincial finalists in the All Ireland quarter-finals with the provincial champions awaiting in the All Ireland semi-finals.
The All Ireland hurling final is down for decision on December 13.
The Laois footballers, meanwhile, will have no backdoor in their championship but they do have two league fixtures to face into when they return on October 17/18.
In a highly competitive Division 2, Laois are still in with a chance of promotion – but not yet clear of relegation.
They will play two away league games – to Fermanagh on October 17/18 and to Westmeath on October 24/25.
There will be no league finals this year; instead the top two teams will be promoted and the bottom two relegated.
Because Laois have a bye to the Leinster quarter-final, they will have a week off before playing the winners of Louth and Longford on November 7/8.
If they win that they will more than likely meet All Ireland champions Dublin in the Leinster semi-final, assuming Dessie Farrell’s side get the better of Westmeath.
The full list of inter-county GAA fixtures for Laois are as follows – though exact dates, times and venues have to be finalised.
October 17-18: Allianz Football League Division 2 – Laois v Westmeath (away)
October 24-25: Allianz Football League Division 2 – Laois v Fermanagh (away)
November 7-8: Leinster SFC quarter-final – Laois v Longford or Louth
November 14-15: Leinster SFC possible – Laois v Dublin or Westmeath
October 24-25: Leinster SHC quarter-final – Laois v Dublin
October 31-November 1: Leinster SHC semi-final – Laois or Dublin v Kilkenny
Remaining Allianz Football League Division 2 games
October 17-18: Westmeath v Laois; Clare v Fermanagh; Armagh v Roscommon; Kildare v Cavan
October 24-25: Fermanagh v Laois; Kildare v Westmeath; Cavan v Roscommon; Clare v Armagh