Improving Laois primed to test Galway’s mettle
Leinster SHC semi-final, Tullamore, Saturday, 5pm - Live Sky Sports 5
Cyril Donnellan: will be aiming to cause problems for Laois at Tullamore. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho
Funny how people love a good underdog story without ever really respecting it. Laois have very obviously been a coming team for the past few seasons and now they have a Leinster Championship win under their belt to back it up.
They’ve run Galway to the pin of their collar in each of the past two seasons. Galway are missing Jason Flynn from the win over Dublin, a win handed to them by a madcap opening set-up by Ger Cunningham’s side. Yet to look at the odds, this is a turkey shoot.
Laois won’t see it that way. For a start, they will take a far more enlightened approach to stopping Galway than Dublin did. Cheddar Plunkett will close off the space in front of his full-back line from the start and force Galway into shooting from distance. Maybe Cyril Donnellan and Co can hold their end up from that point of view but it’s not a given.
The Laois template in this game over the past two years has been to cling on and hang in. Galway found that shock and awe worked for them against Dublin so they will surely be keen to roll out the tanks again here. If Laois can get to half-time within a few points, it will be a something to build on.
They can’t afford either the slow start or the careless shooting that they had to overcome against Offaly.
Galway should have enough in the end but expect Laois to beat the eight-point spread.
Last meeting: June 1st 2014, Leinster SHC quarter-final, Portlaoise – Laois 0-23 Galway 1-22.
Odds: Galway 1/10, Laois 8/1, Draw 20/1.
Injuries: Galway have lost Jason Flynn to a broken finger since the 13-point victory over Dublin. Laois have no new injury worries.
Just the ticket: Stand €25; Terrace €15; U-16 €5.
LAOIS: Eoin Reilly; John A Delaney, Cahir Healy, Brian Stapleton; Joe Fitzpatrick, Matthew Whelan, Tom Delaney; Joe Campion, Paddy Purcell; Tommy Fitzgerald, Zane Keenan, Charles Dwyer; Ben Conroy, Willie Hyland, PJ Scully.
GALWAY: Colm Callanan; Johnny Coen, Padraig Mannion, John Hanbury; David Collins, Iarla Tannian, Daithi Burke; Andrew Smith, Aidan Harte; David Burke, Cyril Donnellan; Jonathan Glynn; Cathal Mannion, Joe Canning, Niall Healy.
Referee: Fergal Horgan (Tipperary).