Laois Shopping Centre Senior Hurling Championship
Laois SHC Round 1
Rathdowney-Errill v Ballinakill
O'Moore Park @7.00pm, Sunday 4th August
Odds: Rathdowney-Errill 1/4 | Draw 10/1 | Ballinakill 11/4
A beaten finalist in Rathdowney-Errill and a beaten semi-finalist in Ballinakill are set to meet in their opening fixture of the senior championship in group B.
Rathdowney-Errill have been drawn in on paper what looks like the easier group, avoiding fellow championship favourites Camross and Borris-Kilcotton. There are both upsides and downsides to that.
They are overwhelming favourites to top this group and if they do, will have a straight passage through to the semi-finals stage. Presuming that happens, they might feel a bit worried that they'll be slightly under-cooked for a potential clash with Borris-Kilcotton or Camross.
Rathdowney-Errill's loss to Camross in the county final last season in controversial circumstances will surely have lit a fire underneath them, and they'll be out to avenge that. They also haven't won the Bob O'Keefe Cup in five years, which is a long drought for the talent that Rathdowney-Errill have at their disposal.
Ballinakill were the surprise package of last year's championship, topping a group that contained Borris-Kilcotton in it, winning all three of their games.
A huge semi-final match against Camross was on the cards then, and although they ended up on the losing side, Ballinakill were actually leading at half-time and really caused Camross bother.
If Ballinakill can replicate that form from last season they are capable of giving Rathdowney-Errill their most challenging game in this group, but John Delaney's men should still have enough strength across the field to come through.