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All you need to know as the Laois minor footballers face Meath in Leinster semi final

The Laois minor footballers take on Meath in the Leinster championship semi final this afternoon.

Here we guide you through what you need to know:

When, where, what time?

The game throws in at 12.30pm in Pair Tailteann, Navan on Saturday December 19.

Though like all games at the moment, it’s completely behind closed doors so supporters can’t attend. We’ll have a Live Blog while TG4 will show the game on YouTube.

Team news

Laois minor football boss Mark Bates named his starting team to face Meath on Thursday.

Manager Bates has named an unchanged starting 15 from the win over Carlow last week – but there are a number of positional switches.

Josh Hogan moves into the full back line with Portarlington’s Darragh Slevin going to wing back.

Park-Ratheniska’s Simon Fingleton will captain the team but from wing back this time as Conor Kelly partners Conor Heffernan in midfield.

St Joseph’s Oisin Hooney moves to corner forward with Ballyroan-Abbey’s Shaun Fitzpatrick moving up to wing forward.

While the last positional switch sees PJ Ward stationed at full forward and vice-captain Colin Dunne move to centre forward.

LAOIS: Sam Krebs (Courtwood); Ben Reddin (Portlaoise), Josh Hogan (Portlaoise), Ben Dempsey (Portlaoise); Darragh Slevin (Portarlington), David Dooley (Rosenallis), Simon Fingleton (Park-Ratheniska); Conor Kelly (Graiguecullen), Conor Heffernan (Killeshin); Shaun Fitzpatrick (Ballyroan-Abbey), Colin Dunne (Arles-Killeen), Ross Meredith (Emo); Kieran O’Donnell (Portlaoise), PJ Ward (Portarlington), Oisin Hooney (St Joseph’s)

While Meath have named an unchanged team from the side that defeated Westmeath last week.

MEATH: Billy Hogan; Ben Moran, Liam Kelly, Ben Donnelly; Sean O’Donoghue, Oisin Kelly, Ciaran Caulfield; Sean Emmanuel, Conor Gray; John McDonagh, Ruairi Kinsella, Mark Coffey; Alan Bowden, Eoghan Frayne, Aaron Murphy.

What is the recent history between the teams?

Since this grade reverted to U-17 in 2017, Laois and Meath have once met once.

That was in the semi final in O’Moore Park in 2018 and it was not a happy experience for the home side.

Meath ran out 5-18 to 0-8 winners over Donncha Phelan’s charges on that day and Laois will be hoping for a far better showing this time.

What do we know about this Meath team? 

On paper, they look very impressive with wins over Dublin and Westmeath under their belt.

They are managed by former minor and U21 All-Ireland winner John McCarthy – who is a Meath native.

The key to their success in both games has been their string second halves and they showed that against Dublin in Round 1 back in October.

The game was level 0-4 apiece at half time but they went on to win 1-15 to 0-7 in the end. 

In last week’s quarter final, they led Westmeath 1-5 to 0-5 at half time before going on to win 3-11 to 0-7.

Owen Frayne, Aaron Murphy, Rory Kinsella and John McDonagh have done the bulk of the scoring for Meath so far so Laois will be hoping to keep them quiet.

What will happen after this game?

If Laois win, they will face either Kildare or Offaly in the finl in January.

If they lose, they are out.

SEE ALSO – Laois man Francie Gorman elected as IFA South Leinster chairman

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.