Dublin v Louth, Saturday, 7 pm, O’Moore Park
Five in a row seeking All-Ireland champions Dublin will make their championship bow on Saturday evening in O’Moore Park, Portlaoise. The game throws in at 7 pm.
Dublin showed signs in the Allianz League that 2019 may be a bit more difficult for them than in recent years. They failed to reach the league final for the first time since 2012. They had a poor campaign by the high standards they set themselves. However, they have welcomed back Rory O’Carroll to the team which is a major plus. Still, no sign of Diarmuid Connolly but we couldn’t rule him out returning either. Jim Gavin will likely start a strong team as he has done even in the first round games over the last few years. He will want his side to lay down a marker to show that they mean business and nothing but an easy win is expected.
Louth have already played a game in Leinster this year accounting for Wexford by 0-22 to 1-14 last Sunday week. However, Dublin will be obviously massive step up from that game in terms of quality, intensity and skill levels. Louth finished mid-table in Division 3 and were unlucky not to get promoted in truth. Wayne Kierans is in his first year as Louth boss and has done quite well. He will be looking for a performance here, his side has nothing to lose.
Dublin will look to players like Jonny Cooper, Rory O’Carroll and Mick Fitzsimons in defence, in midfield Brian Fenton will start for sure. In attack, Jim Gavin has a wealth of players to choose from including players like Con O’Callaghan, Niall Scully, Paul Mannion and Kevin McMenamon to name but a few. Louth will look to Emmet Carolan, Bevan Duffy and Anthony Williams in defence. James Califf will likely line up in midfield. In attack, Jim McEnaney, Ryan Burns and Sam Mulroy will be key.
Dublin are having their first outing in Championship 2019 as they set out in pursuit of a ninth successive provincial title and their 14th in 15 seasons.
Louth beat Wexford by 0-22 to 1-14 in the Leinster 1st round last Sunday week. Louth are seeking their first championship win over Dublin since 1973 when they won a second round replay by 1-8 to 0-9 in Pairc Tailteann.
Dublin and Louth have met 55 times in the championship. It’s 36-13 in Dublin’s favour, with six draws. Louth haven’t scored a goal against Dublin in their last six championship games.
The winners will play Kildare or Longford in the Leinster semi-final on June 9.
Last Five Championship Meetings
2012 Dublin 2-22 Louth 0-12 (Leinster quarter-final)
2010 Dublin 2-14 Louth 0-13 (All-Ireland qualifiers)
2008 Dublin 1-22 Louth 0-12 (Leinster quarter-final)
2003 Dublin 1-19 Louth 0-09 (Leinster quarter-final)
1999 Dublin 2-14 Louth 0-13 (All-Ireland quarter-final)
Dublin (Leinster SFC v Louth): Stephen Cluxton; David Byrne, Michael Fitzsimons, Jack McCaffrey; James McCarthy, Cian O’Sullivan John Small; Brian Fenton, Darren Gavin; Cormac Costello, Brian Howard, Ciarán Kilkenny; Paul Mannion, Con O’Callaghan, Niall Scully.
Dublin are 1/100 to win this at real money gambling sites. Louth are 25/1 and the draw is 50/1. I expect Dublin to win this with ease and the -17 in the handicap looks good at 10/11. Con O’Callaghan at 7/1 to get the first goal looks a good bet.