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Tracey Lawlor was Top Hat Show-Stopper

IT'S all change on the Leinster Express.

Westmeath and Laois open the Leinster Championship on Sunday.

They are in a three-team round-robin group with Meath.

The winners go straight into the Leinster final, while the runners-up play Dublin in the semi-final.

Dublin are seen as very much the dominant side in the province, so the new format is designed to give the other counties game-time before the knock-out stages.

The last team to lift the provincial chalice outside of Dublin was Laois in 2011.

This year they'll be without the great Tracey Lawlor, who has hung up the county boots. And what cultured boots.

She was one of the finest players of her generation. She played against the Dubs in last year's Leinster final.

She was also a central figure on the Sarsfields side that defeated Na Fianna in last season's Leinster Club Championship final.

For so long, her classical, electric displays lit up the sport. Her fitness was such a tribute to her. And her vision was just so precise.

She was forever making herself available for the pass, and once she had the ball, she guarded possession like a china cup.

She was pure class.