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First All-Ireland ladies football final appearance in 20 years on the line as Laois face Wexford in Kilkenny

Photo: Paul Dargan

A first All-Ireland final appearance in 20 years is the prize if Laois can get the better of Wexford in Nowlan Park this afternoon.

While Laois went into last weekend’s quarter final against Louth as big favourites, this game would appear to be closer on paper.

Laois are Division 3 champions and Wexford were in Division 2 in 2021.

However, that league campaign did not go well for the fellow Leinster outfit.

They lost all of their games and were then thumped by Tyrone in the relegation final.

Defeat against Tyrone in that game marked a real low point for Wexford, who conceded 11-7 against the Red Hands.

Paul Carty vacated the role of team manager and Lizzy Kent took over ahead of the Championship.

Since then, Wexford’s fortunes have been on the rise.

The Model County began the group phase with an eye-catching victory over Sligo, 4-13 to 1-10, before getting the better of Longford by a single point.

A 1-6 to 2-16 loss to Westmeath was the only blot on Wexford’s championship copybook to date, before they scored a 1-11 to 2-6 quarter-final win over a fancied Down outfit.

In Catriona Murray and Amy Wilson, Wexford have two players in fine scoring form.

Murray has 1-15 to date in the Championship, while Wilson has contributed 2-7.

But Laois have just as much to be excited about as today’s opponents as they have continued their fine form since the Division 3 win over Kildare.

The sides met again in the Championship and it was Laois with the upper hand once more, on a 4-11 to 2-15 scoreline.

The O’Moore County followed up with a 3-8 to 1-7 victory over Roscommon to march into the last eight.

At the quarter-final stage, Louth provided stout resistance but Laois found a way through and ran out 3-9 to 2-6 winners.

Mo Nerney has been in magnificent form for Laois, collecting 3-11 to date in the Championship, but she’s not the only player that Wexford will have to watch.

Sarah Anne Fitzgerald has 2-6 to her name while Jane Moore, Fiona Dooley and Erone Fitzpatrick are also capable of wreaking havoc.

Manager Donie Brennan has named an unchanged side from the one that defeat Louth last weekend.

Laois have actually won the Mary Quinn Memorial Cup before -defeating Cork in the All-Ireland Intermediate decider in 2000.

A year later, they went and defeated Mayo in Croke Park for their only Senior All-Ireland to date.

We’ll be live from Nowlan Park to bring you all of the action as it happens via our Live Blog.

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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.