Team named for Offaly U-21s showdown with Laois

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THE Offaly U-21s begin their Leinster Championship campaign tonight (Tuesday) with a showdown with Laois in O’Moore Park.

THE Offaly U-21s begin their Leinster Championship campaign tonight (Tuesday) with a showdown with Laois in O’Moore Park.

Offaly were supposed to be at home for this game however the Leinster Council deemed Gracefield to be unsuitable on Health and Safety grounds necessitated the switch to Portlaoise. While that will be of benefit to Laois, it should also act as a motivator for Offaly who can feel hard done by as Gracefield proved a superb venue last year with a tremendous atmosphere for the county’s U-21 games, particularly the one against Kildare.

Offaly go into this game as odds on favourites with the bookies and given that 17 players were on the panel last year and that the core of the side played in the 2010 Leinster Minor Final, the favourites tag is well merited.

However the favourites tag has never sat well with any Offaly side and they will have to be on their guard against a Laois team who come into the game with few expectations and nothing to lose in front of their home crowd.

Laois have one senior player in their starting 15, wing-forward Damien O’Connor however he is a doubt for the game due to injury. Their one to watch is undoubtedly full-forward Evan Costello who has the ability to score off either foot and has the potential to notch a considerable personal total.

Offaly manager Emmett McDonnell has announced a strong starting team. It includes five players – Eoin Rigney (Rhode), David Hanlon & Derek Kelly (Edenderry), Eoin Carroll (Cappincur) and Peter Cunningham (Bracknagh) – that featured with Offaly senior footballers during their recent Allianz NFL Division 4 second round loss, 1-8 to 0-12 against Limerick in O’Connor Park, Tullamore.

Offaly U-21’s reached the provincial semi-final in 2012, losing out to Louth by 0-8 to 0-10 at Pairc Tailteann, Navan. Earlier in that championship campaign Offaly registered victories over Meath (1st round - 1-9 to 0-9) and Kildare (quarter-final - 0-8 to 0-7), both games were hosted by Gracefield GAA Club.

Dublin, who defeated Laois by 2-21 to 0-4 in the 2012 quarter-final, went on to become Cadbury Leinster U-21 champions defeating Louth by 1-16 to 0-8 in the final.

Nine of Offaly’s starting line-up this evening featured at some stage in last year’s semi-final loss against Louth. 
The nine are Declan Hogan (Tullamore), Rhode trio Eoin Rigney, James McPadden & Stephen Hannon, Edenderry trio David Hanlon, Derek Kelly & Stuart Cullen, Bracknagh’s Peter Cunningham and Ferbane’s Aaron McDonagh. Cian Donohue (St Brigid’s) who played against Louth last year is included among the subs.

The reward for the winners of this evening’s midlands derby is a Leinster quarter-final against Wicklow on Wednesday, March 6.


The Offaly squad is;

1 Mark Langtry (Doon)

2 Declan Hogan (Tullamore)

3 Eoin Rigney (Rhode)

4 James McPadden (Rhode)

5 David Hanlon (Edenderry)

6 Derek Kelly (Edenderry)

7 Philip Foy (Clonmore Harps)

8 Conor McNamee (Rhode)

9 Eoin Carroll (Cappincur)

10 Stuart Cullen (Edenderry)

11 Peter Cunningham (Bracknagh)

12 Aaron McDonagh (Ferbane)

13 Paul McPadden (Rhode)

14 Ciaran Hurley (Edenderry)

15 Stephen Hannon (Rhode)



16 Ciaran Cummins (Edenderry)

17 Joey O’Connor (St Rynagh’s)

18 Joe Maher (Ferbane)

19 Barry Cushen (Clara)

20 Sean Doyle (Edenderry)

21 Darragh Corbett (Shannonbridge)

22 Cian Donohue (St Brigid’s)

23 Jamie McKeogh (Durrow)

24 Luke Kelly (Clara)


Laois team

1 Graham Brody (Portlaoise)

2 Mark Dowling (The Heath)

3 Mark O’Halloran (Courtwood)

4 Stephen Attride (Killeshin)

5 Kieran Lennon (Timahoe)

6 Padraig McEvoy (Ballylinan)

7 Dan Dunne (St Joseph’s)

8 Adam Ryan (Portarlington)

9 Matthew Campion (St Joseph’s)

10 Kevin McGrath (Portarlington)

11 Liam McGovern (Portlaoise)

12 Damien O’Connor (Timahoe)

13 Evan O’Carroll (Crettyard)

14 Evan Costello (Emo)

15 Paul Kingston (Barrowhouse)