Following on from their hard-earned win over Meath in the opening round of NFL Division 2, the Laois senior footballers welcome Antrim to O’Moore Park this Sunday. Another win would ease Laois’ relegation worries considerably and also push them towards the top of the table prior to tricky assignments against Derry, Kildare and Tyrone in their next three games.
Last year’s captain Padraig McMahon is a doubt with a leg injury after going off in the second half of the Meath game but Cahir Healy’s availability could see him make his first start of the season. But there is better news surrounding Donie Kingston as he continues to recover from a serious stomach injury and could be available for selection once more. Kinsgton played in a challenge game for Laois against DIT last weekend and he’s also featured with Pat Roe’s U-21 side in recent weeks ahead of their championship opener against Westmeath next Wednesday, February 23.
“Padraig is still carrying that knock from the last game so we won’t know until later in the week whether he’s fit to play,” said McNulty on Tuesday. “Donie has been playing with us, the U-21s and with UCD and we’re monitering his progress closely.”
The Laois team won’t be named until Thursday night and while there’s unlikely to be many changes, McNulty says he won’t be afraid to change things around if needed.
“The lads did play well against Meath and we will look at sticking with the same team but I’m always open to change and there’s an element of picking horses for courses as well. We will be looking to improve from the Meath game because Antrim will provide a very serious test. They went down badly to Kildare in their first game but they will be coming down here intent on making up for that.
“Obviously I’ll be looking for a win but the important thing for me as that we give a performance and that we improve in the areas we weren’t as good in against Meath.”
The experiment of playing Kevin Meaney at full-back is likely to continue but Laois will be keen to continue offering the same level of protection and support as they did against Meath. On that occasion, the Laois half-forward line of Niall Donoher, Colm Begley and John O’Loughlin all dropped deep as Laois counter-attacked effectively and finished with an impressive tally of 1-14.
Antrim lost to Kildare by 1-17 to 0-11 in the opening round but are one of the most improved teams in the country in recent years following successive promotions and an Ulster final appearance in 2009.
- Leinster Express