Loais hurlers hit with double blow ahead of Antrim clash

Laois senior hurling manager Teddy McCarthy has been hit with a double injury blow ahead of this weekend’s crucial NHL Division 1B clash against Antrim, with both John Brophy and Neil Foyle ruled out for over a month.

Laois senior hurling manager Teddy McCarthy has been hit with a double injury blow ahead of this weekend’s crucial NHL Division 1B clash against Antrim, with both John Brophy and Neil Foyle ruled out for over a month.

Foyle suffered a recurrence of a long-standing elbow injur in Sunday’s defeat to Clare, and he is likely to miss up to six weeks of action while the injury heals.

John Brophy is set to miss out for a similar length of time after an MRI scan on a hand injury revealed he has a broken bone. He has since been put into a cast and will miss around six weeks also. Neither player will be available to McCarthy for this weekend, while Tommy Fitzgerald will also be missing as he continues his recovery from a broken finger.

Laois travel to Casement Park on Sunday knowing that if they don’t win, and Wexford either draw or beat Clare, they will be relegated back to Division 2A.

The Laois manager acknowledges his side need a result, but insists this has been the case all year. “Every game is a must-win game for us, you only get confidence from winning games. I was very happy overall on Sunday, I thought there was an improvement but we are where we are, and we need to pick up a win.”

Antrim have already picked up one win in this campaign, an impressive six-point victory over Wexford in the opening round. Since then they have lost to Clare in Ennis, and put up a good showing at the weekend against Offaly before eventually losing by five points.

Even without their Loughgiel contingent they have been competing well at this level, and in truth, competing better than Laois. This Laois team have enjoyed mixed fortunes against Antrim in recent years, with last year a case in point as they beat them in the league and then lost to them in the championship.

Confidence will be high in Antrim hurling at the moment, and this will be as tough a game as Laois have encountered so far in Division 1B.