Laois 1-06 3-06 Louth, Portlaoise FT
Laois through away the match with some awful shooting when they had the breeze in the first half. It was 0-04 to 0-02 to
Louth at half time and with the breeze in the second Louth were able to hold out to win by six even though they were only one poin up with three minutes to play.
Full match report to follow
Laois minor boss Denis Lalor has a full deck to choose from ahead of this weekend’s minor championship quarter final clash against Louth in Portlaoise.
Both sides come into the game after encouraging first round displays. Laois had plenty to spare – and even time to take their foot off the pedal – as they sailed past Carlow. While Louth exacted some small level of revenge for last year’s senior injustice as they edged out 1-13 to 1-11 winners over Meath.
The scalp of the highly fancied Royal youngsters is undoubtedly more impressive than putting lowly Carlow to the sword but these two teams are set to be well matched come Saturday’s 5:15 throw in at O’Moore Park.
A league meeting in March saw the sides play out a tight 1-4 to 0-7 draw in Darver. But both managers agree that they are now into serious Championship business, and the proving grounds of the league are fading to insignificance as morning skies turn from grey to blue.
“During the league” Said Laois chief Lalor, “in particular at minor level, you don’t learn an awful lot about the other teams in those games.
“We were experimenting with our own team on the day, and they were missing their Dundalk Colleges’ players, so you couldn’t read too much into it.”
However, amidst down playing the result and talking up their opponents, Lalor bullishly put forward the case for his own outfit, saying:
“They are going to be strong, they were strong when we met them last year, but we got a few goals and that was the difference.”
Meanwhile, his opposite number, Thomas McNamee is one win away from achieving a target he set himself at the start of the season, three championship games. After beating Meath last month the Wee county bainisteoir said:
“We set a target for at least three games in this Championship so we’ve one done. The result will give us a boost in training.”
Those training sessions, McNamee admitted, are very focused on tactics and team shape, rather than out and out fitness work which has raised the spectre of player burnout in recent years.
Unlike Lalor, McNamee has had some injury concerns in the run-in to the O’Moore Park clash but has confidence in his squads’ strength in depth.
“We are fortunate though as we have a squad of up to 40 lads and the reason why the first 20 were so good against Meath was because the other 20 pushed them all the way in training.” Lalor told the Dundalk Democrat.
That left him comfortable making four changes from the side which beat Meath. Michael Kane and Ciaran Bellew come into the defence for Robert Brodigan and Sean McAuley. While the attack has been reshuffled; with Sean Thornton and Conall McKeever taking up positions on the right flank in place of Paddy Reilly and Keith Ryan.
But, crucially, Ciaran Byrne is fit and well after claiming nine points in the win over the Royals.
The hosts are likely to be buoyed by a crowd bolstered by supporters coming in early for the Senior Hurling Championship meeting with Antrim. But Lalor will only be focused on the curtain raiser and will have been pleased to have the full complement of players available to him.
Padraig Murphy captains the side from right half back alongside Padraig McEvoy and Don Dunne. In attack they will look to Evan Costello to create the openings despite some intense pressure from Dan Grimes. Paul Kingston completes the line up at top of the left after the Teach an Bhearra man notched an impressive first half tally of 1-5 against Carlow.
Chances will not come as easy on Saturday as they did against the Barrowsiders. McNamee’s young team are brimming with confidence as they near his goal for the season and the manager was keen to emphasise how the dearth of success in county eases, rather than enhances, the weight on young shoulders.
“They are Louth men, Louth and proud, and they went out and gave us a performance. We had nothing for the last 50 or 60 years, no pressure on us, just go out and win ball.”
Laois: G Brady; M Cahill, J Hearn, E George; P Murphy (Capt.) P McEvoy, D Dunne; M Campion, K Bracken; M Scully, E Costello, S Attrite; B Kenna, L McGovern, P Kingston.
Louth: J Mulholland; N McCabe, D Campbell, M Kane; C Bellew, D Grimes, D McMahon; R McCabe, M Breen; S Thornton, J Horan, C Smyth; C McKeever, C Grimes, C Byrne.
Verdict: Louth by less than three
Louth (MF v Laois): J Mulholland; N McCabe, D Campbell, M Kane; C Bellew, D Grimes, D McMahon; R McCabe, M Breen; S Thornton, J Horan, C Smyth; C McKeever, C Grimes, C Byrne.
Laois (MF v Louth): G Brady; M Cahill, J Hearn, E George; P Murphy, P MeEvoy, D Dunne; M Campion, K Bracken; M Scully, E Costello, S Attrite; B Kenna, L McGovern, P Kingston.