Laois v Westmeath, Sunday, 1.45pm, Croke Park
Laois and Westmeath will not only battle it out for the Joe McDonagh but the winners will return to the Leinster Round Robin stage in 2020. So a massive prize is on offer for whoever wins this one. The game is part of a triple header on Sunday as Wexford v Kilkenny play in the minor final and Wexford play Kilkenny in the senior Leinster final.
The bonus for each side is that they will have another game at least in this year’s championship no matter what happens here. They will go into the preliminary quarter- finals where they will play either Cork or Dublin.
Laois come into the game on the back of playing four games. They beat Offaly 4-22 to 3-21, they beat Antrim 2-24 to 1-19, beat Kerry 5-17 to 2-19 and then drew with Westmeath 1-22 each two weeks ago. Laois manager Eddie Brennan will look to players like Joe Phelan, Matthew Whelan and Lee Cleere in defence. In attack, players like Ross King, Stephen Maher, and Neill Foyle will need to have big games.
Westmeath come into the game also on the back of four round robin games in the Joe McDonagh Cup. They hammered Offaly 3-18 to 0-14, before losing out to Kerry 1-21 to 2-16. They made amends though with an 8 point win over Antrim, 0-29 to 0-21, before drawing with the O’Moore County two weeks ago. In defence Tommy Doyle, Aonghus Clarke and Paul Greville will be key players. In the attack Killian Doyle, Robbie Greville and Derek MacNicholas will be tasked with coming up with the scores to see the Lake County over the line.
Laois are 1/2 to win the game, while Westmeath are 15/8. The draw is 9/1. I fancy Laois to win this one, Laois -3 at 11/10 looks a great bet.