The Laois hurling team to take on Kilkenny in Sunday’s National Hurling League Division 1B in Nowlan Park.
The official team released shows no changes from the side that started against Clare two weeks ago – though it’s expected that there will be at least three changes from what is named.
Clough-Ballacolla’s Stephen ‘Picky’ Maher is understood to have recovered sufficiently from a knee injury to be named in the starting 15 for the first time this year while Portlaoise’s Ciaran McEvoy is also expected to start for the first time in 2021. Aaron Dunphy, who started the first two games, is also believed to be back in the starting team.
Again Laois will have to do without the services of the injured Mark Kavanagh while John Lennon, Willie Dunphy, Ryan Mullaney, Podge Delaney and Cha Dwyer are also still out.
The subs list hasn’t been released.
The Laois team is named as follows: Enda Rowland; Diarmuid Conway, Sean Downey, Donnchadh Hartnett; Jack Kelly, Matthew Whelan, Conor Phelan; Fiachra C Fennell, Paddy Purcell; James Ryan, Colm Stapleton, Ciaran Collier; PJ Scully, Ross King, Eoin Gaughan.
The Kilkenny team named shows six changes from the side that beat Wexford 2-27 to 0-23 last weekend with the big absentee being TJ Reid who hit 1-18 in that game. He isn’t included on the bench either.
Joey Holden and Michael Carey come into defence, Conor Fogarty is named at midfield and Martin Keoghan, Liam Blanchfield and Eoin Cody are the additions to the forward line.
Padraig Walsh, Conor Browne, Cillian Buckley, John Donnelly and Alan Murphy also lose out.
The Kilkenny team named is: Eoin Murphy; Tommy Walsh, Joey Holden, Paddy Deegan; Darragh Corcoran, Huw Lawlor, Michael Carey; Richie Reid, Conor Fogarty; Adrian Mullen, Martin Keoghan, Billy Ryan; James Bergin, Liam Blanchfield, Eoin Cody. Subs:
Kilkenny have won their first three games – against Dublin, Antrim and Wexford – and are in no danger of relegation though will be in with a chance of being crowned joint winners of this year’s league if they finish on top of the group.
Laois have lost all three games to date and could do with a win to avoid a relegation playoff. Other key games in the relegation battle in this division see Antrim host Wexford this week and Clare take on Dublin.
The game throws in at 1.45pm in Nowlan Park on Sunday and is live on TG4. After tomorrow’s game, Laois face a trip to Belfast to play Antrim next Saturday and then have a two-week break before they meet Wexford in the opening round of the Leinster championship.