O’Byrne Cup R3 – Laois v Wicklow
In Crettyard at 2pm
Crettyard GAA will roll out the proverbial red carpet this afternoon as they host the Laois footballers in their latest O’Byrne Cup outing against Wicklow.
The south Laois venue is one of the top grounds in the county but its location goes against it in terms for big games.
But you can be sure they will put on a show today as Laois wrap up the group stages of their O’Byrne Cup campaign with what is their third game in a week.
Billy Sheehan’s side have mixed the good with the bad – shipping six goals and losing by 15 points to Wexford last Saturday before bouncing back with an admirable win over Meath in Stradbally on Wednesday night.
In a bid to look at as many players as possible (and manage the playing load) ahead of the Division 3 opening round on January 30, Sheehan has made 11 changes for today’s game with only Trevor Collins, Kieran Lillis, Alex Mohan and Paul Kingston included from the side that started against Meath.
Collins, who is being tried at full-back, is the only player to start a third game in a row.
In all, 29 players have been used over the two games so far and Matthew Byron, Eoin Lowry, Danny O’Reilly and Alan Farrell will bring that to 33 today.
Byron’s inclusion – his first start at senior level having played at U-20 for a number of years – will see him follow in the footsteps of his father Fergal by playing in goals for Laois. He also becomes the third keeper to see action in this campaign with Niall Corbet starting against Wexford and Danny Bolger against Meath.
Cormac Murphy will get a chance to impress on his home pitch in what is his first start of the year while newcomers like Collins Ugochuwku (Courtwood), Mohan (Portarlington), Cathal Fennessy (Ballylinan) and Conal Brennan (Arles-Kilcruise) will be keen to make the most of the opportunity too.
Wicklow were forced to give a walkover against Meath in their opening game due to a Covid outbreak but beat Wexford on home turf on Wednesday night.
Like Laois they are under new management with former Louth boss Colin Kelly taking over from Kildare’s Davy Burke in the off season.
It’ll be the first of three meetings between the county with the sides to meet in the league in March and in the opening round of the Leinster championship on April 24.
A Laois win would give them a chance to progress to Wednesday’s semi-final (most likely against Kildare). If Laois win, and Meath beat Wexford in Navan, then Laois will top the group.
Laois starting team
- Matthew Byron (Courtwood)
- Collins Ugochuckwu (Courtwood)
- Trevor Collins (Graiguecullen)
- Alex Mohan (Portarlington)
- Cathal Fennessy (Ballylinan)
- Alan Farrell (Ballylinan)
- Conal Brennan (Arles-Kilcruise)
- Kieran Lillis (Portlaoise)
- Brian Daly (St Joseph’s)
- Cormac Murphy (Crettyard)
- Paul Kingston (Arles-Killeen)
- Danny O’Reilly (Graiguecullen)
- Ross Munnelly (Arles-Kilcruise)
- Eoin Lowry (Killeshin)
- Gary Walsh (Ballylinan)