NFL Division 1: Laois v Dublin preview

Updated: March 3, 2012

Leinster rivals Laois and Dublin will meet in division one of the Allianz Football league on Saturday evening with both sides the only two to represent Leinster in the top flight of national league football this year.

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Justin Mc Nulty’s Laois side do not have far to travel to the Portlaoise venue for the game as they look to make up for a disappointing eight point defeat at the hands of the men from the capital in the Leinster Championship quarter-final last year.

Mc Nulty will be hoping for a vast improvement among his charges following a disappointing 2011 campaign and will be buoyed by an impressive victory over Donegal in their most recent outing following a defeat to Mayo in the opening round of this year’s League campaign.

Meanwhile, defending All-Ireland champions Dublin go in search of their first victory of the 2012 National League in the wake of an uncertain start to this year’s league campaign which saw them loose their only completed game so far, to Kerry in Croke Park four weeks ago.

Laois have enjoyed a good run of form of late and will be positive ahead of Saturday’s game despite suffering a convincing defeat at the hands of Pat Gilroy’s charges in their last meeting.

The O’Moore men suffered heavily at the hands of Dublin attacking trio Diarmuid Connolly and Alan and Bernard Brogan who scored 1-11 between them last time out.

However, with both Brogan brothers omitted from the starting line-up and the presence of Pádraig Clancy and Ross Munnelly, both who played a central role in the victory over Donegal, Saturday is expected to be an intriguing contest.

Clancy in particular was a constant threat against Donegal, scoring the decisive goal and Laois will be hoping that he will prove a handful against full back Rory O’ Carroll on Saturday.

Saturday’s clash signifies an important one for Pat Gilroy and Dublin who have endured an inconsistent start to the 2012 league campaign with a convincing defeat to Kerry under the lights in the first round followed by the frustration of having their clash with Mayo abandoned at half-time three weeks ago due to heavy fog.

They were leading by three points at the time and thus will be eager to get some points on the board and also throw down the gauntlet to Laois ahead of the Leinster Championship campaign later this year.

Team News:

Gilroy has made three changes to the side that lined-out against Mayo and includes the surprise addition of Michael Savage in goal instead of Stephen Cluxton.

The St. Vincent’s ‘keeper played in two League games in 2011, against Mayo and Galway, and will get another opportunity this Saturday.

Eamon Fennell will return from suspension to replace Michael Darragh Macauley at midfield, while Paul Flynn will start ahead of Bryan Cullen in the half-forward line. Centre back Ger Brennan will captain the team in Cullen’s absence.

Both Brogan brothers, Alan and Bernard, will not start Saturday’s game however, Dublin fans will be hoping to see the pair who have not featured so far this season, make an appearance at some point.

Laois must do without David Conway, who has been side-lined for at least a few weeks after he injured his hamstring in training. The corner-forward had enjoyed a very impressive start to the league campaign, scoring three points from play in his side’s victory over Donegal.

Billy Sheehan will replace Conway in the only change from the team that started against Donegal in Letterkenny.

The game will kick-off at 7pm in Portlaoise on Saturday.

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