Laois Shopping Centre Premier IHC – Clonaslee v Mountrath
In MW Hire O’Moore Park at 1pm
Clonaslee only maintained their status in this grade by default last year having been actually been beaten in the relegation final by Slieve Bloom.
But the amalgamation of Colt and Shanahoe gave them a reprieve and they’ll be hoping to make the most of that stroke of luck by at least qualifying for the knockout stages.
Club legend James Young has taken over as manager and while they’ll face a busy schedule of hurling and football with mostly the same group of players, they will be thankful that the hurling is coming first.
John Rowney will probably get the bullk of their scores while county footballer Niall Corbet is involved, Liam Senior is developing nicely and was playing well with Laois in the spring and DJ Callaghan is an exciting young player.
Mountrath went down badly to Rosenallis in the quarter-final last year though had enjoyed a decent season prior to that.
Gavin Sydes, Gearoid Williams, Colm Linehan and Dylan Russell will be key men for them but Clonaslee might just have too much.
Laois Shopping Centre Premier IHC – Slieve Bloom v Colt-Shanahoe
In MW Hire O’Moore Park at 3.30pm
The second game of the afternoon sees Slieve Bloom take on Colt-Shanahoe, in what is their first ever competitive game.
Colt and Shanahoe have been competitive at this grade seperately over the past couple of seasons but they could have done with a league campaign together to help the amalgamation bed in.
Chris Murray and Leigh Bergin aren’t set to be involved which is a massive loss but James Keyes is a very talented young player and Brian Guilfoyle, Brian McDermott and Rhian Bergin are all fine players too.
Ben Conroy’s return to Slieve Bloom is a massive boost and Tadhg Cuddy, Ciaran Conroy and Tom Delaney will all be crucial too.
Slieve Bloom might just have enough.
Prediction: Slieve Bloom