Offaly and Louth will play the Leinster Senior Football Championship opener this Sunday at 1:30 pm in Pairc Tailteann, Navan.
Both sides come into this year’s Leinster SFC after successful National Football League campaigns that saw the two sides win promotion.
Offaly finished as runners-up in Division Three while Louth beat Carlow by eight points to confirm their spot in next year’s Division Three.
Offaly weathered storms from opposition to reach the Division Three final before being swept aside by winners Derry.
Defensive errors were not unfamiliar to John Maughan’s side before the final.
Half-back John Moloney gifted Wicklow a goal early on in the season opener.
Mickey Harte’s Louth will want to force errors like these and have a penchant for goals.
Star player Sam Mulroy has been the biggest danger in attack for Harte’s men and nabbed four goals for the Wee County in their promotion push.
Ciarán Keenan has also impressed in the forward line under Mickey Harte.
The pair will be a handful for Offaly’s defence.
Offaly’s attack has often looked stagnant in periods, in contrast to Louth, and the side has relied on their substitutes on more than one occasion to get them over the line.
Namely, Niall McNamee has underlined his importance to the side.
The veteran forward kicked eight points as a substitute across their league campaign.
However, Offaly’s inability to score from play against Derry may be an omen for the future.
Joe Maher and Bernard Allen offer scoring threats in the starting 15 but it has not been enough this year so far.
Louth’s defence has kept many of their Division Four rivals in check with one exception of Antrim, the side promoted with Louth.
They conceded only 63 points across four games, the least in Division Three North – Sligo and Leitirm conceded more in just three games.
It will be a big test for the impressive Louth defence but if they can hold off the newly-promoted Division Two side, this season will be a huge success.
C Lynch, D Corcoran, D Campbell, D McKenny, E Carolan, A Williams, E Callaghan, B Duffy, C Byrne, L Jackson, S Mulroy, C Downey, C Keenan, C Grimes, R Burns
P Duncan, J Lalor, E Rigney, N Darby, C Doyle, C Stewart, D Dempsey, P Cunningham, J Hayes, B Carroll, S Horan, A Sullivan, B Allen, C Farrell, R McNamee
Predicted Winner: Louth by 3.