Leinster SFC preview: No holding back the blue tide

May 11, 2018

Meath's Bryan Menton, Westmeath's John Heslin, Longford's Paddy Collum, Dublin's Michael Fitzsimons, Offaly's Anton Sullivan, Wexford's Naomhan Rossiter, Carlow's John Murphy, Laois' John O'Loughlin, Kildare's Eoin Doyle, Wicklow's Seanie Furlong and Louth's Andy McDonnell at the launch of the 2018 Leinster senior football championship.
©INPHO/James Crombie.

When the favourites in an eleven-horse race are quoted at 1/20, well, what more is there to say? Dublin, gunning for a four-in-a-row of All-Irelands, an eighth Leinster SFC in succession and a 13th in 14 years, showed few signs of slowing down during the spring.

The enigmatic Diarmuid Connolly is a loss, of course, but if any side can suck up the absence of such a virtuoso talent, it's the Dubs. To call them peerless in the modern game doesn't do them justice - they can win pretty, win ugly or anything in between. The verb, though, is the key point of the sentence; Dublin just win.

They will meet the winners of Offaly and Wicklow later this month in a match which may see a new record for shortest odds on any GAA team in history, which says it all.

Of the pretenders to the throne, last year's Leinster finalists Kildare had a torrid league campaign and didn't win a match in Division 1. Meath were more miss than hit in Division 2 and were in the relegation shake-up coming towards the business end before eventually consolidating. A reported recent exodus surely won't help their cause, either, although passionate manager Andy McEntee sounded bullish at the recent provincial launch.

Best of the rest? Laois, Wexford, Westmeath, Louth, Carlow and Kildare are all in the top half of the draw and while the Lilywhites will be favoured to come through to the showpiece, as stated, their form has not been inspiring and it could be an opportunity for someone else to gate crash the party.

Carlow, at long last, secured their elevation to Division 3 but the loss of Brendan Murphy, gone travelling, will hurt them. Laois got out of the bottom division with ease and will fancy their chances of coming through the top half (a mini championship in itself) while Longford made solid strides are unfortunate to be on Dublin's side of the draw.

Westmeath, though, look most likely to be the ones to knock out Kildare (they would meet in the semi-final if both sides won through) given their experience of having reached two Leinster finals already in recent years.
 
Predictions:

Champions: Dublin 

Runners-up: Kildare

Odds (supplied by PaddyPower): Dublin 1/20; Kildare 12/1; Meath 20/1; Westmeath 80/1; Longford 100/1; Laois 150/1; Offaly 250/1; Louth 300/1; Carlow 300/1; Wicklow 500/1; Wexford 500/1

Fixtures:

May 12: Preliminary round: Laois v Wexford

May 13: Preliminary round: Louth v Carlow

May 20: Preliminary round: Offaly v Wicklow

May 26: Quarter-final: Laois/Wexford v Westmeath

May 26/27: Quarter-final: Louth/Carlow v Kildare

May 26/27: Quarter-final: Offaly/Wicklow v Dublin

May 27: Quarter-final: Longford v Meath

June 10: Semi-finals

June 24: Final

Be sure to follow the hoganstand.com Live Match Tracker this weekend for all the latest action from the senior football and hurling championships.



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