Sunday, November 28, 2021

By Denis J. Croke

LAOIS have been drawn against Wicklow and Dublin in the first round of next year’s Leinster senior football and hurling championships, respectively.

There will be no let up for county teams this year with the O’Byrne and Walsh cups to be played for in Jan, followed by the national leagues while the championships will begin April in order to facilitate the playing of the All-Ireland finals by the end of July.

New Laois football manager Billy Sheehan will get his championship debut at home to Colin Kelly’s Wicklow on the weekend of 23/24 April. While the two counties have met in both the O’Byrne Cup and National League in recent years, their last championship meeting was in 2017 when the Mick Lillis trained Laois emerged victorious on a 3-16 to 0-18 scoreline.

The winners of that game will take on Meath in the provincial quarter-final.

The hurlers will be back in championship action on the weekend of 16/17 April when Cheddar Plunkett’s charges must head to Parnell Park as Dublin have home advantage. Laois hurling fans will long remember the 2019 championship meeting between these two when Laois gave one of their best ever displays. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of their last championship meeting, 12 months later, when Dublin had 14 points to spare at the final whistle.

And it doesn’t get any easier as Laois must travel to Nowlan Park to play Kilkenny in their round two game. There follows three home games then against Wexford, Galway and Westmeath.

Like last year, the football draw was made only as far as the quarter-finals with the semi-final being made when the championship reaches that stage.

The 2022 hurling championship will revert to the round-robin format that proved successful in 2018 and 2019.

FIXTURES

FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

Round 1 – 23 / 24 April

Laois v Wicklow

Louth v Carlow

Offaly v Wexford

Quarter-Finals – 30 April / 1 May

Meath v Laois/Wicklow

Dublin v Offaly/Wexford

Kildare v Louth/Carlow

Westmeath v Longford

Semi-Finals – 14 / 15 May

Final – Saturday 28 May

HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP

Round 1 – 16 / 17 April

Dublin v Laois

Wexford v Galway

Westmeath v Kilkenny

Round 2 – 23 / 24 April

Kilkenny v Laois

Wexford v Dublin

Galway v Westmeath

Round 3 – 30 April / 1 May

Laois v Wexford

Galway v Kilkenny

Westmeath v Dublin

Round 4 – 14 / 15 May 14th

Laois v Galway

Dublin v Kilkenny

Westmeath v Wexford

Round 5 – 21 / 22 May

Kilkenny v Wexford

Galway v Dublin

Laois v Westmeath

Joe McDonagh Final – Saturday 5 June

Leinster Final – Saturday 5 June

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