herald

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Lilies will leave Laois in the mire

And expect both teams to be on best behaviour at reunion
ALLIANZ NFL DIVISION 2
LAOIS v KILDARE
(Portlaoise, Tonight 7.30)

PRESUMABLY, both of these teams have enough grey matter not to allow their obvious hostility towards one another to spill over into a repeat of their now infamous O'Byrne Cup clash back in January.



The hefty suspensions incurred by some of the protagonists and the close proximity of the championship should see to that.

Kieran McGeeney admitted during the week that the clash of the near neighbours would rekindle those memories but played down the potential for another such row.

His ire this week, however, was directed at the refereeing of Aidan Mangan last week as his team beat Westmeath -- just -- in Newbridge and his perception of football as a game of "half-rules", though his admission that he may have to consider training players how to manufacture frees is unlikely to prove constructive or be well met by officials for the rest of the year.

Of the few positives from last Sunday, there was, at least, a strong show of character from the Lilies after conceding two early goals and the poise of John Doyle to kick five points in a row to win the game.

More worrying is the predicament facing Mikey Conway, who has been diagnosed with having tendinitis on the patella tendon on his right knee and is now uncertain to be back from his cruciate ligament injury until after the commencement of the championship.

For their part, Laois lost the clash of the Leinster underperformers in Navan last week -- their second successive one-point defeat in seven days.

More bad news came during the week too, with Ross Munnelly and John O'Loughlin now likely to miss the remainder of Laois's league campaign, and they'll tumble closer to the drop zone with defeat tonight.

ODDS: Laois 5/4, Draw 15/2, Kildare 4/5

VERDICT: Kildare

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