Carlow v Laois, Sunday, 2pm, Dr Cullen Park
This game is basically a shoot out for what team will book a quarter final and what team will be in the relegation game with Offaly. A win for either side will be massive and it is a 50-50 game as the odds suggest.
Carlow have played three games to date in the league. They lost out to Dublin in their first game but got a lot of credit for a massive performance. They then played Galway and drew with the 2017 All-Ireland Champions which was superb for Carlow and superb for hurling as a whole. However last weekend they suffered a heavy defeat to Waterford in Dungarvan so confidence may be low in the camp but a win here would rise that confidence for sure. Laois have also played three games in the league, winning one and losing two. The two losses came to to Galway and Dublin, with the win coming against Offaly in what was a fine performance.
Carlow will be without Diarmuid Byrne for this game after he was sent off against Waterford. In defence players like Alan Corcoran, David English and Gearoid Bennett will be key. In attack much of the scores will have to come from Marty Kavanagh and Denis Murphy. James Doyle and John Michael Nolan will also be key. Laois will look to players Matthew Whelan, John Lennon in defence. In attack Aaron Dunphy, Willie Dunphy who grabbed two goals against Offaly, Stephen Maher and Mark Kavanagh will all be key.
Laois (SH v Carlow): Enda Rowland; Joe Phelan, Matthew Whelan, Donnacha Hartnett; Jack Kelly, Ryan Mullaney, Jake Cranny; John Lennon, Sean Downey; Aaron Dunphy, Eanna Lyons, Paddy Purcell; Mark Kavanagh, Willie Dunphy, Stephen Maher.
Carlow : TBA
Pretty even when you look at the betting Carlow are 11/10, Laois are 5/6 and the draw is 9/1. I fancy Carlow to win this by a point.