Laois forwards carry too much threat
Saturday: Leinster SFC preliminary round – Laois v Wicklow, Portlaoise, 7.0
Laois’ Ross Munnelly: with Donie Kingston and rising star Evan O’Carroll up front, Laois have too much for the visitors. Photograph: Inpho
It didn’t escape people’s attention in Wicklow that there has been a deal of complaining from some quarters in Laois about the prospective quarter-final against Dublin being fixed for Kilkenny rather than Portlaoise.
On the 30th anniversary of the Battle of Aughrim it doesn’t help Wicklow’s chances of a surprise that they travel on this occasion. Laois are missing Colm Begley with a knee injury but are hot favourites despite relegation from Division Two and a defence that proved the leakiest in the league.
Wicklow are rebuilding and under Johnny Magee last year proved no pushover for Meath. But with Ross Munnelly, Donie Kingston and rising star Evan O’Carroll up front, Laois have too much for the visitors.
LAOIS: Graham Brody; Stephen Attride, Mark Timmons, Paul Cotter; Damien O’Connor, Darren Strong, Gareth Dillon; John O’Loughlin, Brendan Quigley; Niall Donoher, Paul Cahillane, Evan O’Carroll; Ross Munnelly, Gary Walsh, Donal Kingston.
WICKLOW: Robert Lambert; Ciaran Hyland, Paul McLoughlin, Arran Murphy; Chris Murphy, Dean Healy, Stephen Kelly; Rory Finn, Niall Gaffney; Darren Hayden, John McGrath, Mark Kenny; Paddy Byrne, Paul Cunningham, Marc Lennon. Subs: Will Hender Philips, Jamie Snell, John Crowe, Eoin Murtagh, Danny Woods, Anto McLoughlin, Patrick O’Connor, Gary Allen, Mikey O’Connor, Sam Thompson, Conor French. Last meeting: 2014 Leinster preliminary, in Aughrim, Laois 0-21, Wicklow 1-11.
Odds: Laois 1/10, Wicklow 9/2 and 11/1 the draw.
Just the ticket: Adult stand €25, terrace €15in advance. Reductions for students and senior citizens. Accompanied children (two per adult) €5 stand and €3 terrace.
Verdict: Laois to win.