Laois make two changes for Galway test

JJ McHugh and Philip Russell have both been included in the Laois side for Saturday's All-Ireland SHC qualifier against Galway (O'Moore Park, throw-in 7pm).

JJ McHugh and Philip Russell have both been included in the Laois side for Saturday's All-Ireland SHC qualifier against Galway (O'Moore Park, throw-in 7pm).

JJ McHugh comes in at left half-forward to make his championship debut - the Ballyfin clubman missed Laois' Leinster quarter-final defeat to Offaly last month due to a finger injury. McHugh is an indirect replacement for dual star Darren Rooney who will be lining out with the Laois footballers in Sunday's Leinster SFC semi-final against Wexford.

Joe Phelan has been switched from corner forward to wing back to cover the loss of Rooney.

Meanwhile, Russell, who plays his club hurling for Kilkenny side Galmoy, will start in the left corner with Jason Phelan the player to lose out. Under-21 prospect Willie Hyland is listed at full-forward, having started at wing forward against Offaly.

Russell has previous championship experience - he started against Dublin in the 2005 All-Ireland SHC relegation semi-final and scored a crucial goal a week later in the relegation final as Laois held onto their Liam McCarthy Cup status with a 1-23 to 1-15 win over Antrim.

This weekend's Portlaoise tie is Laois' third encounter with Galway in the qualifiers in as many years, with the Tribesmen having won the previous two games by 2-22 to 2-11 (2005) and 7-18 to 2-13 (2006).

LAOIS (SHC v Galway) - P Mullaney; C Fitzpatrick, C Healy, C Dunne; Joe Phelan, M Whelan, M McEvoy; J Fitzpatrick (capt), S Dollard; J Brophy, J Young, JJ McHugh; T Fitzgerald, W Hyland, P Russell.

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