Laois host Clare in Round Three of the Allianz National Hurling League in Portlaoise this Sunday afternoon(12.45).
The visitors look far and away the strongest side in this section and it will be a huge surprise if they don’t win this game easily. In turn, the hosts have yet to get off the mark this season and could not have asked for tougher opposition.
Under Davy Fitzgerald’s stewardship Clare could be the dark horses in hurling this season. The former Banner goalkeeper and ex Waterford boss has made an impressive start since returning to his native county and should maintain his one hundred per cent record this Sunday. At the start of the campaign Limerick and Antrim would have been viewed as the biggest dangers to the Munster side in the division. However, in the opening two games of the season,both those sides have been easily beaten. A 2-24 to 1-13 defeat of Limerick was followed by a 0-20 to 0-12 win over Antrim. The forwards have been putting up impressive scores this season and one can expect more of the same on Sunday.
Laois have lost each of their games to date in 2012. Offaly proved too strong on the opening day of the season and ran out winners by 1-27 to 0-18. Limerick were the visitors to Portlaoise for round two and came away with the points after a 1-24 to 2-12 win. This latter game gave the Leinster side some cause for optimism and in some ways it is a pity that they have been drawn to face Clare so soon after that moral victory. Anything other than a comprehensive defeat will be seen as a positive result by Laois this weekend.
Clare are evens minus nine points and this price should be snapped up before it goes odds on. The Banner have a strong forward line and have been racking up the scores this season. With competition for places very strong and plenty left to play for,it is unlikely that there will be any let up this weekend.