Laois’ hopes of getting 2012 off to a winning start were dashed by a Donie Kingston inspired UCD side on Sunday afternoon, as the students left Crettyard with a four point victory to set up a date with Dublin.
In reality, the final result won’t count for a whole lot. Laois lost at this stage of the O’Byrne Cup last year and didn’t fare too badly thereafter, but if this game did show anything it is that there is still a lot of work to be done before their Division 1 campaign begins in early February.
This was a much changed team which took to the field for Justin McNulty, as only four of the starting 15 featured for Laois last year. There were also nine players making their first appearance at this level for the county, and given UCD are further along in their preparations ahead of the Sigerson Cup the four point defeat can’t have come as much of a surprise to most Laois fans.
That said, the depth of changes Laois were forced to make to give players game time points to a squad which is undergoing massive reconstruction ahead of what will be a very difficult league campaign. In less than a month Laois will play Mayo and, while there is a raft of players still to return, there isn’t much time to integrate them into the squad and get them up to speed.
SEE THIS WEEK’S LEINSTER EXPRESS (JANUARY 11) FOR FULL REPORT AND REACTION