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Blow for club and county as key forward ruled out for season with injury

Mark Kavanagh

There has been a pre-season blow for the Laois hurlers and Rathdowney-Errill as a key forward is set to be out for the 2021 season with injury.

Mark Kavanagh, who has struggled with knee injuries in the past, has unfortunately been struck down again.

Kavanagh has been afflicted cruciate injuries before and while thankfully it isn’t that this time, the injury is nonetheless serious.

It is understood that the damage this time relates to cartilage and tendons.

He faces at least ten months on the sideline – meaning that it will be 2022 before we see him on the field again.

The Rathdowney-Errill forward has been an integral part of the Laois hurlers resurgence in recent years.

He was Laois’s highest scoring forward in Eddie Brennan’s first season which saw the O’Moore’s win the Joe McDonagh Cup and reach their first All-Ireland quarter final in 40 years.

A shoulder injury picked up against Castletown hampered his 2020 Laois campaign – but he did recover to play a part in the defeats to Dublin and Clare.

Cheddar Plunkett’s charges will now have to plan without Kavanagh and they are set to begin their campaign a month from now.

As revealed yesterday, Laois are in Division 1B and will have five games.

They will play Clare, Wexford, Dublin, Kilkenny and Antrim with games beginning on May 8/9.

There will be no league finals – so whoever finishes first of both 1A and 1B second will be declared joint winners unless they meet in the championship and both games can be played concurrently.

Should Laois finish bottom of Division 1B, the hurling league relegation play-off will be played as curtain raiser to senior hurling semi final in August.

The hurling championship will run on a similar format to last year – except relegation to the Joe McDonagh Cup will be possible now.

Leinster will contain Kilkenny, Galway, Dublin, Wexford, Laois and Antrim.

A draw will take place with four teams placed in quarter finals and last year’s finalists – Kilkenny and Galway, placed in semi finals.

The losers of the two quarter finals will face off in a playoff where the loser will be relegated to Joe McDonagh and the winner will progress to Round 1 of the All-Ireland Qualifiers.

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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.