Laois and Louth name teams

Laois and Louth name teams
Justin McNulty, Laois Football Manager.

Donie Kingston will start for Laois in Sunday's Leinster SFC first round match against Louth at O'Moore Park (throw-in 3pm).

Kingston will lead the Laois attack in Portlaoise, having withdrawn from the midlanders' panel for the 2012 Championship to spend the summer in America.

After making his return to inter-county action earlier this year, there was speculation that Kingston was on the cusp of withdrawing from the Laois squad once more. Indeed, he opted out of a training camp with Justin McNulty's men in Fota Island.

He was rumoured to be disillusioned with his lack of game-time in the Laois jersey, having appeared only as a substitute in the recent league games against Westmeath, Galway and Longford.

The Arles-Killeen clubman also came off the bench in Laois' final Division 2 outing against Wexford, but he has now been rewarded with a starting spot for the Championship opener.

McNulty's selected side includes 11 players who started last August's All-Ireland quarter-final defeat to Dublin - the four others being Kingston and defenders Mark Timmons, Denis Booth and Padraig McMahon.

With Padraig Clancy a notable absentee, Gary Walsh, who lined out on the forty against Dublin, is listed at full-forward for the Louth clash.

Conor Boyle is selected at midfield with Colm Begley part of a talented half-forward line alongside Kingston and Ross Munnelly.

Louth, managed by McNulty's former Armagh team-mate Aidan O'Rourke, will include three Championship debutants for the trip to the midlands.

Corner back John Bingham and wing forward Conor Rafferty will make their first Championship starts along with the highly regarded Ciaran Byrne, who impressed during the recent league campaign.

St. Mochta's youngster Byrne, who is currently studying at DCU, has trialled with Australian Rules club Carlton Blues and they reportedly may make a move for him for the 2014 season.

Byrne will start at top of the right this weekend and O'Rourke's charges will need a big performance from him as experienced attacker Darren Clarke misses out through injury, with defender Conor McGuinness also sidelined.

LAOIS (SFC v Louth): Eoin Culliton; Mark Timmons, Denis Booth, Peter O'Leary; Darren Strong, John O'Loughlin, Padraig McMahon; Conor Boyle, Brendan Quigley; Ross Munnelly, Donal Kingston, Colm Begley; Damien O'Connor, Gary Walsh, Colm Kelly.

LOUTH: Neil Gallagher; Padraig Rath, Dessie Finnegan, John Bingham; John O'Brien, Derek Crilly, Adrian Reid; Paddy Keenan, Brian Donnelly; Andy McDonnell, Brian White, Conor Rafferty; Ciaran Byrne, Shane Lennon, Derek Maguire.

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