The Laois U-21 hurling panel has been named, but doubt remains over the availability of a number of players as manager Mattie Collier tries to plan for their championship clash with Carlow on June 9.
Collier has a working panel of 36 at present, but will hold off on whittling down that number as he awaits the return of some players from injury. The squad had a run out against Offaly at the weekend, but with 10 players missing through either injury or illness, he is finding it difficult to get his strongest starting 15 on the field ahead of the championship.
Players struggling for fitness include Andrew Kavanagh (knee), Brian Galvin (groin), Eoghan Whelan (hip), John O'Loughlin (foot), Lorcan Broderick (illness), Michael Lanigan (broken fingers), Neil Foyle (knee), Pakie Flynn (illness) and Ray Delaney (broken hand), while Dayne Peacock and Eddie Dwyer have only recently returned from injury. When senior players like Foyle, Toms Burke, Eoin Reilly, Patrick Carroll, Andrew Collier and Peacock are factored in, it makes life very difficult for Collier.
With the senior hurlers set to open their championship campaign on May 22, victory over Carlow could see them line out again on June 6, just three days before the U-21's are due to play, which would leave Collier in an unenviable situation. While he faces a difficult task in moulding a team over the coming weeks, the Camross man maintains he is keeping an open mind on his panel ahead of the Carlow game. "It's very hard to get all the lads together, but we have games lined up against Dublin, Limerick and Westmeath, and we'll be keeping an eye on club games as well, it's an open panel and if a player is showing form we'll be taking a look at him."
The panel in full is as follows: Anthony Moore, Dayne Peacock, Declan Phelan, Eoin Reilly (Abbeyleix), Eddie Dwyer, TJ Lalor (Ballinakill), Neil Foyle (Borris in Ossory), Andrew Collier, Lorcan Burke, Martin Burke, Thomas Dunphy, Toms Burke (Camross), John Gaughan (Castletown), Paddy Norton (Clonad), Lorcan Broderick (Clough Ballacolla), Chris Murray, Colm Kavanagh, Michael Holland (Colt), Kevin Campion, Willie Campion (Kilcotton), John O'Loughlin (Mountmellick), Gavin Daly, Patrick Carroll (Mountrath), Brian Smith, Brian Glynn, David O'Mahony, Eoghan Whelan (Portlaoise), Andrew Kavanagh, James Corrigan (Rathdowney Errill), Brian Guilfoyle, Dayle Bergin, Ray Delaney (Shanahoe), Brian Galvin, Michael Campion, Pat Walsh, Pakie Flynn (The Harps)