LAOIS SHC ROUND 1 PREVIEW - Abbeyleix to edge out Castletown in battle of the young guns

Rory Delaney


Rory Delaney


LAOIS SHC ROUND 1 PREVIEW - Abbeyleix to edge out Castletown in battle of the young guns

Abbeyleix and Castletown meet on Saturday evening.

It's not a stretch to consider that in another five or six years time, these two could be meeting in the SHC final.

Such is the strength of their work at underage level by both clubs that, in due course, they will be mixing it at the business end of the championship.

For now, however, neither side look equipped to partake in a senior county final. With that said, of the two of them, Abbeyleix are a little further down the road than Castletown.

Having won the SHC 'A' last year, Castletown are back where they feel they belong, and have done so with an exciting young team. More experienced players like Paddy Mullaney, James Hooban and Fionan O'Sullivan are still putting their shoulder to the wheel, but this year is about toughening up the younger players and getting them experience of top-level hurling in the county.

An instant return to the SHC 'A' is to be avoided if they want to develop this team over the coming years, and anything after that is a bonus.

For Abbeyleix, they will look to Eoin Reilly for scores once again, but their problem in the long run in this year's SHC could well be their lack of physicality. They are not an especially big team, but that won't matter too much against Castletown.

While this is not the marquee game of the weekend, it could well be the most entertaining. There are a lot of exciting hurlers on both teams, and there is not a huge amount of pressure on either team also, which should free them up to really have a go at each other.

We'll stick with experience proving to be important though, and give Abbeyleix the nod to claim an opening round win.

Verdict: Abbeyleix



Venue: O'Moore Park

Throw In: 6pm

Referee: John Lalor

Odds: Abbeyleix 11/10; Castletown 5/6; Draw 5/2 (Paddy Power)

Weather Forecast: 18 degrees, Rain 0%, Wind 6km/h