With the Laois U-21 hurlers only officially allowed to get their season up and running from May 1, manager Mattie Collier already has a lengthy injury list to contend with.
Laois will begin their Leinster campaign in just over a month’s time with a home fixture against Carlow, but a number of players are already facing a race against time to be fit for the game. Brian Galvin (groin), Eddie Dwyer (knee), Eoghan Whelan (hip), Michael Lanigan (broken finger) and Andrew Kavanagh (knee) are all unable to train, as Collier faces a race against time to finalise a fully fit panel in the coming days.
They had their first outing of the year on Bank Holiday Monday, taking on Tipperary in Tipperary and suffering a heavy defeat. With 15 of the panel missing through either injury or college commitments, it was a much weakened Laois side, and Collier will be hoping to welcome back more of his panel as injuries and exams ease off in the next month.
There will be high hopes for this year’s U-21 team, having come within minutes of beating Kilkenny at minor level three years ago. They also enjoyed a dramtic victory over Carlow in that year’s Leinster MHC, and it should set up their opening round clash with the Barrowsiders nicely.
Should Laois get over Carlow they would qualify for a Leinster semi-final, where they would have another home game against Wexford. The squad will have another practice match with Offaly this Sunday, with the management hoping to settle on a final working panel after that.
The U-21 championship has been a source of much heartbreak for Laois in recent years, having suffered narrow defeats to Dublin, Kilkenny and Wexford in the last four years
By Rory Delaney, Leinster Express