Wexford bid to retain Leinster crown

Leinster champions Wexford begin the defence of their title as they take on Laois in the provincial semi-final at Croke Park today.

Leinster champions Wexford begin the defence of their title as they take on Laois in the provincial semi-final at Croke Park today.

Laois, who have already disposed of the challenge of Dublin, will be seeking their first championship victory over Wexford in 10 years, when they won by 1-18 to 2-13.

The champions are huge favourites to advance to the final, and the Model men are boosted by the return of Darragh Ryan at full-back.

The former All Star injured his knee last November, and has played one club match since, so manager Seamus Murphy may be taking a gamble.

Veteran Adrian Fenlon also returns following study commitments and partners dual star Redmond Barry, who is making his hurling championship debut, at midfield.

Barry is chosen to replace Nigel Higgins, who has not recovered from injuries received in a car accident two weeks ago.

Darren Stamp was initially named at centre-back, but he failed a fitness test due to a heel injury, so Declan Ruth goes to the heart of defence, with Malachy Travers coming in on the wing.

Murphy has handed Des Mythen and Diarmuid Lyng their first championship starts at right corner-forward and left half-back respectively.

Laois boss Paudie Butler has made two changes from the side that accounted for Dublin in the quarter-final.

Enda Meagher replaces Mark Rooney as leader of the attack and former All-Ireland minor football medallist Cahir Healy has been named on his left in place of John Rowney.

Both Rooney and Rowney are included amongst the substitutes for the clash against the hampions.

LAOIS (SHC v Wexford): P Mullaney; B Campion, P Cuddy, M McEvoy; J Fitzpatrick, D Rooney, S Dwyer; J Young, J Walsh; J Phelan, E Meagher, C Healy; P Fitzgerald, L Tynan, D Culleton.

WEXFORD (SHC v Laois): D Fitzhenry; D O'Connor, D Ryan, K Rossiter; M Travers, D Ruth, D Lyng; R Barry, A Fenlon; R McCarthy, E Quigley; M Jordan; D Mythen, M Jacob, R Jacob.

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