Meath v Clare, Sunday, 2 pm, O’Moore Park
Another massive game with both sides having a massive chance of reaching the Super 8’s. This game I think will go down to the wire and will come down to who wants a Super 8 place more. The game is also live on RTE on Sunday at 2 pm.
Looking at Meath they have a had year so far between league and championship. They gained promotion to Division 1 for 2020. They also reached a Leinster Final. They beat Offaly 1-13 to 0-14 in the first round, before hammering Carlow 2-18 to 0-09. They then followed that up with a comfortable win over Laois in the semi-final before losing heavily to Dublin in the Leinster scoring only 0-04 in 70 minutes + of the game. Four points here will not be good enough, indeed it wouldn’t be good enough to win any game. So a massive performance is required and 17 or 18 points overall will probably be what is required to come out of Portlaoise with the win. In defence, Andy McEntee will once again look to Conor McGill, Donal Keogan, and Shane McEntee. Bryan Menton has a had a good championship and he will be in midfield where his battle with Gary Brennan will be one to watch. Meath have good forwards and if they are given the right quality of ball they could cause the Banner defence plenty of problems, Michael Newman, James Conlon, Graham Reilly, Cillian O’Sullivan just some of the players at their disposal.
Clare come into the game knowing that a win will guarantee a Super 8 place and that would be seen as massive for them. Clare played four games already this championship beating Waterford narrowly in Munster, before losing out to Kerry in the semi-final 1-15 to 0-12. They then beat Leitrim 3-17 to 0-17 in the qualifiers and also went on to beat Westmeath last weekend 1-13 to 0-15. In defence, Gordon Kelly, Sean Collins and Dean Ryan will need to have big games, Gary Brennan will once again lead the side be it from midfield or centre forward. Eoin Cleary, Jamie Malone and David Tubridy will also need to have their scoring boots on.
This will be the first meeting of the sides in championship football. They have met in the Allianz League this year though when Meath ran out 1-12 to 1-07 winners, while in 2018 the sides also met in the league with Meath also winning 0-21 to 0-07. Meath are looking to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 2010, while Clare last appeared in the quarter-final in 2016 when they lost to Kerry.
Meath: Andrew Colgan; Seamus Lavin, Conor McGill, Shane Gallagher; Donal Keogan, Padraic Harnan, Gavin McCoy; Bryan Menton, Shane McEntee; Ben Brennan, Bryan McMahon, Graham Reilly; Cillian O’Sullivan, Michael Newman, James Conlon.
Clare: Stephen Ryan; Dean Ryan, Cillian Brennan, Gordon Kelly; Kevin Harnett, Aaron Fitzgerald, Sean Collins; Gary Brennan, Cathal O’Connor; Sean O’Donoghue, Eoin Cleary, Jamie Malone; Gavin Cooney, David Tubridy, Cian O’Dea
Meath are 1/2 to win this game, while Clare are 2/1 to win. I expect Meath to win by 2 or 3 points but the market that appeals to me is David Tubridy to score a goal anytime at odds of 16/5.