Weekend hurling previews: Antrim v London, Laois v Carlow
Willie Hyland of Laois: five-point haul.
Leinster SHC round robin
Antrim v London
Ballycastle, Tomorrow, 2.0
Tommy Harrell, who this year again stepped into the breach as joint-manager of London with Matthew Fitzsimons from Clare, wasn’t wrong when pointing out that the exiles don’t have a great record against Antrim and may have been thinking of the 1-5 to 8-27 defeat of 11 years ago in the old Ulster championship.
London have known better times since and, despite the usual chopping and changing year on year, they have already had a better-than-expected league campaign and the first championship outing a fortnight ago came agonisingly close to shocking Carlow, who had to scramble back a four-point deficit with as many minutes left, but at least managed a draw.
This will be a more formidable task even though Antrim have been a bit subdued to date. The Ulster side should remain on course to qualify for the main draw but the main issue will be in what order – something that probably won’t be settled until next week’s match against Laois.
Laois v Carlow
O’Moore Park, tomorrow, 3.0
Carlow’s faltering form has been a feature of the season.
Manager John Meyler said that the disappointing draw in London had been accompanied by a nervous and jittery display.
It’s possible that the great achievement of Mount Leinster Rangers in reaching the All-Ireland club final has maybe drained some of the players and they go into tomorrow’s match against the best team in the group not exactly in the best of form.
Laois however weren’t in top gear for their win over Westmeath and Séamus Plunkett will be demanding that they raise their game to ensure the qualification process proceeds without hitch.
Although Willie Hyland weighed in with a typically useful five-point haul the attack was fitful and Laois trailed at half-time and up to the final quarter. Maybe match practice was the problem but either way, they should have enough to stop Carlow repeating the 2010 qualifier shock.