Laois v Fermanagh – Laois At Lovely Odds
Laois v Fermanagh
The first round of the Qualifiers kick off with a battle between Laois and Fermanagh in Portlaoise on Sunday. I give some insight into what could be a tight clash.
Being in the Qualifiers obviously points to both sides losing their last game, but these sides come into this match in very different mindsets. While Fermanagh suffered a two-point home defeat to Antrim in their Ulster opener, Laois, meanwhile, put up a commendable, if ultimately unsuccessful, performance in Croke Park against Dublin. Fermanagh will look to try and redeem themselves having lost out in Brewster Park, while Laois will seek to build on their win away against Wicklow in Aughrim and the quality they displayed in the first half against the All-Ireland favourites.
The 2-18 to 3-13 loss flattered Fermanagh on the day. Their last goal came in injury time and they were 1-10 to 0-01 down after half an hour of play. Granted Antrim have some fine players in the McCann brothers in particular, but such a performance at home doesn’t augur well for Pete McGrath’s tenure there. Fermanagh were totally outplayed in the middle sector and given Laois’ ability to dominate the Dubs there, this could be a long evening for the Ernesiders.
Marty O’Brien, who hit 1-1 as an early substitute against Antrim is likely to start, while Fermanagh will hope big Sean Quigley is on form at full-forward. In fairness to Fermanagh, they showed great heart in chasing the game and from eight points down with five to go, Antrim needed a last gasp goal-line clearance to deny a home win.
For Tomas O Flaherty there’s the danger that Laois will be complacent and the intensity they brought to Croke Park won’t be there. Key to them is Donie Kingston. While his relationship with Justin McNulty was fraught at times, the Arles/Kileen player is starting to come good on his potential this year. His ability to win ball and kick scores were on show in both championship games thus far, but the Laois threat to the Dubs petered out as he ran out of steam.
Ross Munnelly has played a captain’s part this summer too, and he can provide the scores to keep Laois ticking along nicely. A concern for Laois may be what happens if those two fail to fire though; no other forward scored against Wicklow and there was only a point apiece from two of the other starting forwards against the Dubs.
Home advantage is a massive plus for Laois and their high octane game should prove too much for the visitors. With John O’ Loughlin’s urgings from midfield, Laois should have piles of chances. They hit 0-21 against Wicklow and 0-16 against Dublin. Given that Fermanagh conceded two goals against Antrim, a green flag thrown into that mix should have Laois in to the 20 point plus region. Having kept Wicklow to 1-11 in Aughrim, they should be able to keep Fermanagh south of fifteen points.
The O’Moore men are a tasty 5/4 on the handicap minus four points and they’re worth a healthy bet at that.
Also, given how their last games went, Laois taking control from the off is worth a go at 8/11.