The scoreline Laois 7-29, Meath 1-16 in last weekend’s Joe McDonagh
Cup hurling clash at St Loman’s Park, Trim surely caused raised
eyebrows among Royal County GAA supporters. Some of them were left
wondering if the 50 points conceded was the biggest ever by a Meath
team and if the losing margin of 31 was also the highest.

The pendulum has swung very much the way of Laois since that memorable
day back in 2002 when a dramatic late Mickey Cole goal gave Meath a
sensational Leinster SHC victory over the O’Moore men at Pairc
Tailteann.

While Laois are contenders for the tier two championship,
the Royals are sliding in the opposite direction.

Laois, who had 13 different scorers in Trim, are on the All-Ireland
SHC roll of honour, thanks to their title triumph in 1915 when
conquering Cork in the final.

Offaly. visitors to St Loman’s Park today (Saturday) lifted
the McCarthy Cup four times between 1981 and 1998

Older supporters of Meath and Offaly can look back to those decades
when their teams brought so much joy to the counties. Offaly were one
of the GAA’s top dual code counties and while Meath gathered a good
lot of football titles, the main hurling success was the All-Ireland B win in 1993.

Following some promising underage performances, Offaly should be back
at hurlings top table sooner rather than later. In the current Joe McDonagh
competition they lost to Laois before overcoming Westmeath.
They are much stronger than Meath but a loss of not too big
a margin could be a small boost for the Royals.