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Laois cannot afford to slip up again after their failure to get going against Westmeath. Now, they are in the relegation zone. Even a win over Fermanagh may not be enough to save them if Clare get a result against Armagh. Meanwhile, the Ulster men are beyond saving in Division 2. But, after an admirable showing in Clare following uncertainty over squad availability, they will be hopeful of getting a result at home. Fermanagh vs Laois is at 2pm on Saturday.
Fermanagh finished strongly last weekend to make their performance in Clare an encouraging one. In truth, their late goal was more of a consolation than a comeback starter. But, in the first-half they were unlucky to find the net at a stage when they were still in the game.
Ryan McMenamin’s side did not have any collective training session prior to the match due to seventeen squad members being isolated due to Covid-19 protocols. They requested for the game to be postponed but the CCCC refused.
Captain Eoin Donnelly wasn’t shy to voice the frustration he and his squad felt: “Our medical staff were 100%, they checked in with the boys all the time which is probably more than could be said for the GAA themselves. I don’t think we got a lot of support for ourselves.”
Meanwhile, Laois will be hoping their lackluster performance against Westmeath was a result of the seven-month absence. In Mullingar, they never really got started. Ten of their thirteen points came from frees. If they are to secure Division 2 status this year, Laois need to find scores elsewhere in round 7.
If some Fermanagh players were still feeling the after-effects of Covid-19 last weekend, McMenamin may offer them a week off here. Otherwise, he may deploy his strongest team again to gain some match fitness that would make up for their inability to train recently.
Either way, he will be glad of the week off Fermanagh have before playing Down in the Championship on November 8th.
Likewise, Laois have a week to recover after this fixture. They open their Championship against the winners of Louth and Longford.
Mike Quirke will be ambitious about his side’s Championship chances. However, he won’t pull any punches this weekend with relegation on the mind. Expect a full-strength Laois side to be on show.
Prediction. Laois. They need this one more than Fermanagh do. Furthermore, the Fermanagh lads will still be sluggish after the toll that the Covid outbreak took on their squad.
Fermanagh vs Laois: Division 2, Saturday, October 24th, 2pm (Brewster Park).
— The GAA (@officialgaa) October 20, 2020