Preview: Leinster SFC - Laois v Longford
Sunday May 21
Leinster SFC First Round
Laois v Longford, O'Moore Park, 3pm
By Cian O'Connell
Two wins from seven matches was a disappointing Allianz Football League Division Three return for Laois, who were relegated. Longford concluded their spring campaign with five points which was enough to survive.
The teams did collide in the second last game of the competition with Laois prevailing on a 1-13 to 0-13 scoreline, but it wasn’t enough for Peter Creedon’s team.
Laois have been a fairly solid outfit for much of the past decade so the League slide was worrying, but they remain hopeful about delivering in the summer.
An ankle injury to talisman Donie Kingston is a worry, but there is a good core of experience in the Laois panel with Creedon keen to develop the team.
“I think we will put our stamp on Laois, but it might take a year or two,” Creedon stated at the Leinster Championship launch.
“It will take time to blend in some of the younger players coming through, who mightn't have had as much exposure to top level inter-county football, while trying to keep some of the older guys fit and motivated to continue.”
That is Laois brief with Creedon acknowledging that the League brought plenty of valuable lessons. “We didn't play well enough over the course of our seven games so we have to accept our fate.
“Without making excuses we could never get the same 15 out on the field for consecutive matches. We played the second half of four or five matches with 14 men, another disadvantage which cost us.
“We just weren't good enough in that regard, we have been trying to work to rectify some of those things in preparation for the Championship.”
A June 4 tussle against Kildare is the prize for the winners with Longford continuing to be a competitive outfit under Dennis Connerton.
Down and Monaghan were among the high profile Qualifier scalps Longford took a year ago, while Seanie McCormack’s return to the inter-county arena is most welcome.
McCormack made an important contribution for the midlanders during the League and has the scoring power to trouble Laois.
Staying in the provincial hunt, though, is what these two teams will want to do and this will be a revealing encounter.
LAOIS: Graham Brody; Damien O'Connor, Denis Booth, Padraig McMahon; Darren Strong, Colm Begley, Stephen Attride; Brendan Quigley, Kevin Meaney; Alan Farrell, David Conway, Niall Donoher; Evan O'Carroll, Donal Kingston, John O'Loughlin.