Laois v Offaly, Saturday, 7pm, Portlaoise
The Midlands derby takes place on Saturday night under lights at Portlaoise with both sides looking for their first wins of the league campaign. A loss here for either side could be fatal and relegation will be looming large as they have to play several of the big guns in the division still.
Looking at the recent games. Laois have played 2 and lost 2. These losses coming at the hands of Galway away on the opening weekend, before losing heavily to Waterford two weeks ago at this venue. Offaly have also played 2 and lost 2, going down heavily on both occasions to Waterford on the opening weekend where they only scored 7 points and then two weeks ago to Dublin in Tullamore. Things are only going from bad to worse for a side that will play in the Joe McDonagh Cup in 2019.
Laois will look to players like Neill Foyle, Stephen Maher, John Lennon, Charles Dwyer and PJ Scully. Much will rely on Maher and Dwyer I would imagine who are leaders in the team. Paddy Purcell and Matthew Whelan will also be key players. Looking at Offaly, players like Thomas Spain, Liam Langton, Pat Camon and Kevin Connolly will be key but this will be a very close game and is 50-50.
LAOIS: Enda Rowland; Joe Phelan, Matthew Whelan, Donncha Hartnett; Jack Kelly, Ryan Mullaney, Jake Cranny; John Lennon, Sean Downey; Aaron Dunphy, Eanna Lyons, Paddy Purcell; Mark Kavanagh, Willie Dunphy, Stephen Maher.
Laois are 4/7 to claim the spoils here and Offaly are 13/8. The draw is 9/1 and with a close game expected that could be the bet of the weekend.