Thirty years on from the Battle of Aughrim, Laois and Wicklow tangle again

It's our live game on Off The Ball this Saturday

Laois, Wicklow

Ross Munnelly of Laois with Rory Finn of Wicklow in 2014 ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

There is a bit of history where the Laois and Wicklow footballers are concerned.

Back in 1986, both counties faced off in an acrimonious encounter which has since been called The Battle of Aughrim.

Referee Carthage “Catch” Buckley would later tell Newstalk's Off The Ball about the threatening letter he received after presiding over a match which saw him dismiss three Laois players.

Thirty years on and both sides meet again in a match you can listen to live on Off The Ball this Saturday with throw-in at 7pm.

This year, the Leinster championship clash takes place at O'Moore Park, Portlaoise, rather than Aughrim but the big pre-game story comes from Laois with manager Mick Lillis drafting in ex-Galway hurling boss Anthony Cunningham as a coach.

Given the lateness of the addition to the Laois coaching team, former Mayo manager James Horan was doubtful that it was the best idea when he spoke to Off The Ball last night.

"It's high risk. It's not something I'd do at this stage," he said.

But as Newstalk Sports' Oisin Langan outlined, Lillis has already admitted regardless of what they do, provincial heavyweights Dublin already have the Leinster championship wrapped up.

The Dubs are the prize for the daunting winner of the Laois and Wicklow match, but looking ahead to the quarter-final before the preliminary has even been played is a danger.

 

It's something Wicklow manager Johny Magee is wholly aware of: "Are [Laois] looking at us or are they looking at Dublin behind us? If our players turn up and perform to their potential we’ll beat Laois but it won’t be handed to us we’re going to have to work for it".

However, the head-to-head record lies in Laois' favour, winning 10 of their 13 championship encounters since their first clash in 1889.

One of the three times Wicklow came out on top was the Battle of Aughrim which they won 2-10 to 1-9.

They have only gone head-to-head three times since the turn of the Millennium and each time it's Laois that has prevailed, most recently in 2014.

Here's their team to face Wicklow:

Laois

1. Graham Brody 
2. Stephen Attride
3. Mark Timmons 
4. Paul Cotter 
5. Damien O’Connor
6. Darren Strong 
7. Gareth Dillon 
8. John O’Loughlin 
9. Brendan Quigley
10. Niall Donoher 
11. Paul Cahillane 
12. Evan O’Carroll
13. Ross Munnelly 
14. Gary Walsh 
15. Donie Kingston

Wicklow

1. Rob Lambert
2. Ciaran Hyland
3. Paul McLoughlin
4. Arran Murphy
5. Chris Murphy
6. Dean Healy
7. Stephen Kelly
8. Rory Finn
9. Niall Gaffney
10. Darren Hayden
11. John McGrath
12. Mark Kenny
13. Paddy Byrne
14. Paul Cunningham
15. Marc Lennon