D-Day arrives for Laois hurlers
There is an air of expectancy, almost giddiness, in Laois hurling circles at present. Allied to the Laois minors’ marvellous display and win away to their long-time nemesis Offaly last week is the form of the county’s senior side. Hurling supporters from Clonaslee to Ballinakill all expect Laois to comfortably handle Westmeath’s challenge at the weekend. Indeed the Laois followers foresee their county defeating the hurlers of Carlow, London and Antrim in quick succession as well.
Two factors must be borne in mind however before the O’ Moore men can begin dreaming of a Leinster Semi-Final date. It’s been such a long time since Laois were such favourites heading into a Championship series. The other potential problem is the lengthy injury list that Seamus Plunkett has to cope with at present. Some of the walking wounded including Cha Dwyer may well feature in the round robin stage. Their introduction might prove crucial in Laois’ attempts to put back-to-back championship wins together.
The basis for all this expectation within the county is not hard to see. The Laois hurlers have made incredible strides in this year’s league. Division 1B status was comfortably retained while their performance against All-Ireland Champions Clare in the League Quarter Final thrilled locals and grabbed the attention of the entire hurling community across the island. Seamus Plunkett has his side well primed and Laois hurling supporters are dreaming of a long Summer this time around. The O’Moore men have a bye in the opening round of the Round Robin section then Westmeath await in Mullingar this Sunday.
Then it’s home to face neighbours Carlow before heading for the bright city lights of London to wrestle the hosts. Laois then host the Saffron brigade from the Glens of Antrim. At last the Laois players, management and supporters all expect the county to win all those ties before sniffing after bigger scalps as the Summer unfolds.
Cover photo courtesy of Alf Harvey