The Laois senior footballers will find out next Monday who they will face in the first round of the 2012 All-Ireland SFC Qualifiers.
The last of the provincial quarter-finals will take place this weekend, and while it had been expected the draw might take place on Sunday night’s screening of ‘The Sunday Game’, Croke Park officials revealed yesterday (Tuesday) that the draw will take place on Monday. No time or venue for the draw has been confirmed as of yet.
Laois will be entered into the pot along with all other teams who have failed to reach their respective provincial semi-finals, meaning the heavyweight duo of Kerry and Galway, who were beaten at the weekend, will not be included until the draw for round two.
Thirteen of the sixteen teams have already been confirmed, with Laois joining Westmeath, Wicklow, Louth and Longford from Leinster, Armagh, Antrim, Cavan and Fermanagh from Ulster, London and Roscommon from Connacht and Waterford and Tippeary from Munster in the hat. One each from the remaining three games between Meath and Carlow, Offaly and Kildare and Donegal and Derry will complete the line up.
Laois are likely to face an away trip, as they were at home in both their qualifier games last year. Should they be drawn against a team who played away last year, then their opponents will be awarded home advantage.
There was an injury scare over the weekend for manager Justin McNulty too, when captain Kevin Meaney was forced off in Arles-Kilcruises’s league game against The Heath. The player himself has revealed it was a precautionary move, however, after he had injured his back in work during the week, and he expects to be back to full fitness by the end of the week.
In other county team news, The Harps’ Conor Dunne is almost certain to miss the senior hurlers Qualifier game against Limerick on June 23 after it was confirmed that he suffered knee ligament damage against Dublin. He is currently on crutches and awaiting the result of a scan.
His injury sees him join club mate Sean Bourke on the sidelines, who remains out with a broken hand, while Dayne Peacock is also struggling to shake off a persistent injury. To compound matters for Teddy McCarthy and his management team, Portlaoise’s David O’Mahony has opted to go to the USA for the summer, so he will be unavailable for the game against Limerick.
At minor level, there was further bad news for the county on the injury front with confirmation that Rathdowney-Errill defender Paddy Bergin has ruptured his cruciate ligament, and he will miss the Leinster semi-final against Wexford, as well as the rest of the intercounty and club season.
Bergin suffered the injury against Offaly in the quarter-final. He has already undergone surgery, and will now commence his rehab in the coming weeks and months. It is big blow to Cheddar Plunkett as he plots a course to a first provincial minor hurling final for Laois since 1991.