Laois manager Justin McNulty has injury concerns over four of his first choice players for this weekend’s All-Ireland SFC Qualifier with Tipperary in O’Moore Park.
Defenders Mark Timmons and Peter O’Leary and forwards Niall Donoher and Daithi Carroll are all battling to be fit for the must-win game, with McNulty hoping all four will be in a position to start this Saturday. “We are hoping they (injuries) clear up before the game. The injuries are mounting and hopefully we can rectify them, our physio is working around the clock.”
Carroll’s ankle injury sustained in the Dublin game was not as serious as was first feared, and although he has returned to light training, it is not yet clear whether he is ready to resume first-team action. Niall Donoher (groin) and Peter O’Leary (quad) are also hoping to make a timely return, while Timmons also picked up an injury in a weekend challenge game against Kerry.
The Armagh man declared himself pleased with the weekend run out, feeling it has helped him fine tune his approach for this weekend. “We learned a lot in terms of our game plan, and overall it was a very positive game for us.”
To offset some of the injury concerns, Barry Brennan’s return to the panel has given them further options in attack, with McNulty also confirming that despite joining the panel late in the year, he is in the running for a place in the starting team.
With Laois having fallen to Tipperary in last year’s Qualifiers, victory this weekend would be doubly sweet for the players, although McNulty was keen to stress vengeance wasn’t on the agenda this Saturday. “The guys know it’s a knew challenge and a new year, last year’s match is over with now.”
Should Laois win this weekend it would be their first victory in the All-Ireland Qualifiers since the two point win over Longford in 2008. Since then, the county has exited the back door of the championship at the first time of asking to both Down and Tipperary respectively.
Throw in this Saturday night is 7pm, with fans urged to come out in force for the game. Tickets are E15 for the stand and E10 for the terrace, with children E5 in the stand and free on the terrace.