Laois on guard as provincial kingpins’ hoodoo strikes

LEINSTER MFC champions Laois will be wary ahead of their All-Ireland quarter final with beaten Munster finalists Kerry at Pairc na nGael, Limerick this afternoon (2.30pm).

The reason for their concern is Saturday’s stunning statistic of defeats for the three other provincial winners. Connacht kingpins Galway were defeated by Down, Offaly overcame Munster champs Cork while Mayo defeated Armagh, who took the Ulster crown last month.

Regardless of the omens, Andy Shortall, manager of the Leinster champions is expecting a tough challenge.

“We are going to have to put in a top class performance to win. It will be a super game of football between two evenly matched sides,” he said.

Shortall was in Limerick to see the Kingdom play Offaly in a challenge match last weekend.

“They played really well. Offaly may have rested a few of their regulars, but they were really outclassed. They have a few big men but they are very natural footballers,” he added.

Kerry bosses have made two changes with Shane Lynch replacing Jamie Wrenn in defence while Tomas Garvey is in at wing forward for Brian Looney.

Kerry selector Christy Walsh downplays the significance of the weekend shock results.

“You have to consider we lost to Cork and Cork lost of Offaly so it might be that the Munster minor championship might not be as strong as Leinster. Overall we are delighted with the way that the lads have focussed after the Cork defeat.

“We played Mayo and we lost to them and then we beat Offaly but they were very much depleted. We have about three from last year and Laois will have five of six. To win we will want to play above ourselves. We conceded a lot of goals in the championship so we will have to be much tighter in defence and hope our forwards can come up trumps. Midfield will be vital as they have two workhorses there that we must counter,” explained Walsh

KERRY: G Kissane (Kerins O’Rahillys); C O’Mahony (Ballydonoghue), M Moloney (Dr Crokes), K Young (Renard); S Lynch (Spa), G Duffy (Kerins O’Rahillys), S Enright (Tarbert); K Brennan (Desmonds), A O’Sullivan (Tuosist); J Falvey (Fossa), M O’Donoghue (Capt.) (Spa), T Garvey (Dingle); P Curran (Waterville), P O’Connor (Kenmare), K O’Leary (Dr Crokes).

LAOIS: D Maher (Stradbally), P Fleming (St. Josephs), M Delaney (Park Ratheniska), K Smith (Graiguecullen), R Ryan (Ballylinan), Capt., B Meredith (O’Dempsey’s), S Shortall (Annanough), S O’Neill (Graiguecullen), C Og Greene (Park Ratheniska), S O’Leary (O’Dempsey’s), J Fennell (Portlaoise), S Conroy (Ballyroan), S O’Shea (Arles Kilcruise), K Delaney (Park Ratheniska), D Carroll (The Heath).

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