Leinster Senior Hurling Championship Action Continues This Sunday
Different types of pressure will be experienced by the players who walk into the dressing rooms at Pairc Tailteann and TEG Cusack Park this Sunday.
For Meath and Laois who meet in Navan, first round victories mean that another win would put them in pole position to qualify from the group and reach the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship quarter-finals.
For Meath, in particular, that would be a massive achievement after progressing from the Christy Ring Cup last season.
Not far down the road in Mullingar, Westmeath and Kerry will be fearful of a second successive defeat which would end their championship aspirations with one round still remaining.
Especially as they progressed from the round-robin series in 2015 and 2016, that is a setback Westmeath do not wish to suffer.
Depending on results, three teams could potentially finish level at the top of the table on four points each, so two wins does not necessarily guarantee progression. Scoring difference would then come into play.
Nevertheless, another victory would leave Meath or Laois’ fate in their own hands ahead of the final round of games on Sunday, 14th May.
The Royal County recovered from the concession of a goal to Kerry after only 14 seconds to lead at half time by 1-10 to 1-7. Despite a couple of late scares, when net-minder Shane McGann came to the rescue, Meath finished on a high with their third goal from Cathal McCabe.
Laois weren’t overly happy with their first half performance against Westmeath and only for a soft goal, would have been behind at the break. But they turned on the style in the second half with a series of unanswered points, and looked set for a comfortable win before Westmeath hit back with a couple of late goals.
Both Westmeath and Kerry will take heart from the fact that they were in contention until the final whistle and, as predicted even before last Sunday’s games, more close games could be in prospect between these evenly-matched counties.
Round 1 Results
Sunday, 23rd April: Meath 3-20 Kerry 2-17; Laois 1-23, Westmeath 2-17
Round 2 Fixtures
Sunday, 30th April: Westmeath v Kerry at TEG Cusack Park, Mullingar, 3pm; Meath v Laois at Pairc Tailteann, Navan, 3pm.
Round 3 Fixtures
Sunday, 14th May: Westmeath v Meath at TEG Cusack Park, Mullingar, 3pm; Kerry v Laois at Austin Stack Park, Tralee, 3pm.