Home Sport GAA Big Saturday of hurling action as Laois fight for survival while Borris-Kilcotton...

Big Saturday of hurling action as Laois fight for survival while Borris-Kilcotton and Clonaslee St-Manman’s go for Leinster glory

Laois hurlers Cloanslee Borris-Kilcotton

Laois v Westmeath 
Leinster Senior Hurling Championship Round 5 in O’Moore Park at 6pm

There is a lot on the line for a number of Laois teams today and it will conclude this evening in O’Moore Park with the biggest of the lot.

It is a simple situation for Laois – they must defeat Westmeath or else they will be relegated to the Joe McDonagh Cup for 2023.

It has been a fairly wretched season for Laois, one where they’ve played 12 games so far and lost 11 of them, most of them by big margins.

To make things worse, they’re currently dealing with another lengthy injury list, something which has dogged Seamus ‘Cheddar’ Plunkett’s second term as manager since he took the helm ahead of the 2021 season.

Diarmaid Conway, Podge Delaney, Willie Dunphy, Conor Phelan, Liam O’Connell, John Lennon, Stephen Maher and Jordan Walshe have all missed recent championship games and haven’t trained this week.

Cha Dwyer, Mark Dowling and Ciaran McEvoy all went off with hamstring injuries against Galway last Saturday and are unlikely to play either.

Westmeath, Joe McDonagh Cup champions last year, are coming off the back of an historic draw with Wexford in Mullingar last Saturday and are the 4/5 favourites for this game.

The sides met in the Division 1 league relegation playoff in O’Moore Park last summer, one Laois won 1-27 to 0-27 after Westmeath had been reduced to 14 men late in the first half.

Westmeath have since made an instant return by winning the Division 2 league title and have fared better than Laois in the championship so far.

As well as drawing with Wexford, they were competitive for long spells against Kilkenny in their opening round and against Dublin in their third outing. Their biggest defeat was against Galway, who they lost to by 25 points.

Laois, after running Dublin to two points in their opener, have since lost by 23 points to Kilkenny, 27 to Wexford and 22 to Galway.

But Laois’s track record in winning these one off games is one that they will have to draw confidence from.

They saw off Antrim in the championship playoff last year and repeated that trick against today’s opponents in the league playoff a few weeks later.

Earlier this year, Antrim came to O’Moore Park in much better form than their hosts but Laois once again beat them to retain their Division 1 status.

Whatever happens, Laois’s season will be over after tonight – and hopefully it can end on a high note.

Borris-Kilcotton v Clara (Kilkenny)
Leinster League Division 1 Final in Nowlan Park at 3.45pm 

Before the action gets underway in Portlaoise, there are two Laois teams in contention for Leinster glory at 3.45pm.

The Leinster League has been ongoing since the start of the year and the competition is down to the finals in each Division.

Borris-Kilcotton managed to navigate their way to the Division 1 final which will be played as a curtain raiser to the Leinster championship game between Kilkenny and Wexford.

Wins over Glenmore (Kilkenny), Cloughbawn (Wexford) and St Martins Muckalee (Kilkenny) put them through to the semi final.

Here, two first-half goals from Emmet Jones and a tally of eight points from Stephen Dunphy helped them get the better of Dublin side Faughs.

Borris-Kilcotton were 2-8 to 0-12 up at half time and though there was never much between the sides, late points from subs Conor Kilbane and Jim Fitzpatrick helped them over the line.

Aside from PJ Scully, Borris-Kilcotton have all of their players available to them now.

Clara were last Kilkenny senior hurling champions in 2014 and have already defeated Laois opposition in this competition.

Their path to the final saw them topple Camross, Shinrone (Offaly), Cloughbawn (Wexford) and Rower Inistogue (Kilkenny).

Clonaslee-St Manman’s v Glenealy (Wicklow)
Leinster League Division 4 Final in O’Moore Park at 3.45pm

This game is a curtain raiser to the Laois v Westmeath match – and a historic one for Clonaslee-St Manman’s.

The dual club has never competed in a Leinster final before and will do so here.

They actually met their opponents, Glenealy of Wicklow, in Round 1 of this competition and came out on the losing side.

This is something they will be hoping to turnaround and their results since then have been good.

Clonaslee got out of their group by defeating Moorefield of Kildare and then faced Kilmacow in the quarter final.

Clonaslee had too much for the Kilkenny side and then enjoyed a 3-16 to 3-6 win over Trumera in the semi final.

Glenealy play at Senior level in Wicklow but are likely to be without Matthew Traynor who plays on the county football team.

SEE ALSO – Check out all our coverage of the Shine 2022 event in Emo Court

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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.