Wednesday 11 December 2019

Laois admit players' hectic schedule their own fault

Patrick Whelan, Laois
Patrick Whelan, Laois

Cliona Foley

LAOIS have admitted that the ridiculously busy week that some of their young hurlers are being subjected to is partly their own fault.

Eight of their U-21s have been involved in their seniors' round-robin campaign in Leinster, which has involved championship matches for the last four weekends on the trot.

Patrick Whelan, Cha Dwyer and Dwane Palmer of their U-21s all started for their seniors against Antrim last Sunday and another, Joe Campion, came off the bench.

They take on Kilkenny in a Leinster U-21 quarter-final in Parnell Park tomorrow and will be back in action again for the seniors this weekend as Laois take on Galway in the Leinster quarter-finals.

Laois players are the only ones to suffer such a schedule because the other two Leinster U-21 quarter-finals (Wexford v Kilkenny and Westmeath v Carlow) do not take place until Wednesday week.

But Laois secretary Niall Handy has explained that the hectic schedule is partly of their own making.

"We initially agreed the date for the U-21s because we had lads doing the Leaving Cert," he said. "When we saw the seniors schedule in Leinster we tried to change it but it was already pencilled in and it was too late to change it."

Laois senior manager Seamus Plunkett, who also manages their U-21s, has already been critical of the format and timing of the Leinster SHC.

"We're being asked to go from the league into effectively another league and, after that, into a knockout championship the Sunday after and I think a restructuring of that would be more beneficial," he said.

Laois' Leinster senior quarter-final against Galway is the second game in Sunday's double-header at Portlaoise with a 4.0 throw-in, preceded by Antrim v Wexford at 2.0.

The Christy Ring semi-finals will take place on Saturday in Castlebar (Mayo v Kerry, 1.0) and Trim (Meath v Kildare, 2.30).

Meanwhile, Dublin's U-21 side for tomorrow's game includes county seniors Cian O'Callaghan, Colm Cronin and Chris Crummey.

DUBLIN (U-21 HC v Laois) – C Dooley; S McClelland, C O'Callaghan, M McCaffrey; E O'Donnell, R Murphy, C Crummey; G Whelan, C Robinson; P Winters, K O'Flynn, C Cronin; O O'Rorke, A Clabby, C Conway.

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