Leinster SFC preview: Dubs look set to cruise towards 56th Delaney Cup

May 16, 2017

Dublin's Stephen Cluxton lifts the Delaney Cup for a sixth successive year.
©INPHO/Donall Farmer.

The Leinster senior football championship kicks off this weekend and once again Dublin are the colossal favourites to reign victorious come mid-July.

The province's kingpins have been successful in 11 of their last 12 pursuits of the Delaney Cup and, needless to say, the winners of Carlow and Wexford this Sunday face a hell of a tall order in trying to topple the All-Ireland champions on June 3rd.

Should Jim Gavin's men keep things to script in the quarter-finals then a last four clash against either Offaly or Westmeath awaits, with the latter having already secured some silverware this season with their triumph over Seamus McEnaney's Slayneysiders in last month's Allianz League Division 4 final.

Beaten finalists the past two seasons, the Lake men look on course to meet the Dubs a bit earlier this summer should they be able to account for Offaly in Tullamore, where they'll require John Heslin to be prominent.

On the other side, Andy McEntee's Meath await the winners of Sunday's clash between Wicklow and Louth. Having secured back-to-back promotions in the league, Louth will be hotly fancied to the do the business against Johnny Magee's charges this weekend and would represent a tricky opener for the Royals on June 4th.

It could be argued that Kildare will be in the same boat against either Laois or Longford the same weekend, but Cian O'Neill's men displayed some encouraging form in their promotion from Division 2 this year, despite being beaten in the final, which is more than likely what has them ranked as second favourites (at a whopping 16/1) to claim the eastern province this summer.

A Kildare-Meath semi-final looks the most likely outcome on that side of the draw, but it's hard to envisage anyone else but the men from the capital settling the issue come July 16th.

Predictions:

Champions: Dublin

Runners-up: Kildare

Odds (supplied by Ladbrokes): Dublin 1/20; Kildare 16/1; Meath 16/1; Laois 80/1: Westmeath 100/1; Louth 150/1: Longford 250/1: Offaly 250/1; Wexford 250/1; Wicklow 1000/1; Carlow 1000/1

Fixtures:

May 21: First round: Louth v Wicklow, Parnell Park; Laois v Longford, O'Moore Park; Carlow v Wexford, Netwatch Cullen Park

June 3: Quarter-final: Dublin v Carlow/Wexford

June 4: Quarter-final: Meath v Louth/Wicklow; Kildare v Laois/ Longford, O'Connor Park

June 11: Quarter-final: Offaly v Westmeath, O'Connor Park

June 17: Semi-final: Louth/Wicklow/Meath v Laois/Longford/Kildare, Croke Park

June 25: Semi-final: Carlow/Wexford/Dublin v Offaly/Westmeath, Croke Park

July 16: Final, Croke Park



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