Preview: Leinster Football Round 1 – Offaly v Louth And More

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The 2021 Leinster Senior Football Championship will begin on June 27 with three games in Round One.

These three games will bring the number of teams in the provincial championship down from 11 to eight.

Kilkenny does not field a team for Gaelic football.

You can view the full draw here.

Leinster Round One

Offaly v Louth

Division Two-bound Offaly will play Mickey Harte’s Louth in Navan.

Both sides have been promoted in the National Football League this season and will want to carry that momentum over to the championship.

Offaly took the top spot in Division Three South after three wins from three and dispatched Fermanagh to win promotion.

They have not yet played the Division Three final against Derry, at the time of writing.

However, John Maughan’s side did not make it easy for themselves.

Fortunately, veteran Niall McNamee took on the role of super-sub as he got Offaly over the line on multiple occasions.

Louth, on the other hand, has improved vastly under Mickey Harte.

A dramatic one-point loss to Antrim in the first round of the National Football League was the only blemish on an otherwise stellar record.

Second-halves become clinics for the Wee County as they cruised to three wins in a row to earn promotion.

Led by captain Sam Mulroy, Louth put on fantastic displays to distance themselves from the competition and take control of proceedings.

Offaly may be the higher-ranked side but an upset is not unlikely.

Prediction: Louth by 3

Wicklow v Wexford

Wicklow and Wexford will go head-to-head in Aughrim in the first round.

Wicklow masterminded the great escape in their relegation play-off against Cavan.

Their 3-11 (20) to 0-18 (18) win over the Ulster champions was their first of the season after a brutal campaign as the whipping boys in Division Three South.

Seanie Furlong’s 2-3 was instrumental in the shock win for Davy Byrne’s side.

Wexford had a similarly underwhelming National Football League campaign.

However, their two losses to Carlow and Waterford in Division Four South were much closer games.

Furthermore, the side showed their quality in the Division Four Shield final against Sligo.

John Turbitt hit six points over the bar while Ben Brosnan and Liam Coleman found the net for the Model County.

Their scoring ability will be important in a clash such as this.

Shane Roche could lead Wexford to their first win in the Leinster Senior Football Championship since 2014.

Prediction: Wexford by 1

Carlow v Longford

Carlow and Longford contest the final first-round fixture of the 2021 Leinster Senior Football Championship.

Carlow will want to bounce back after missing out on promotion to Division Three after Louth beat them by eight points.

The Dolman County made it look easy against Waterford and edged Wexford in the South section of Division Four but could not make it count.

However, 61 points from three games is an impressive haul, as well as six goals in the same period.

A stunning comeback against Wexford is the highlight of their season so far.

The Fighting Cock County will look to go one further.

Longford enters the championship side of the season after surviving relegation to Division Four on the last day.

A humiliating defeat at the hand of Rory Gallagher’s resurgent Derry started the year off on a low point.

But a final day with Fermanagh gave the side hope as they almost left Brewster Park with a win in front of spectators.

Longford then brought their A-game to Pearse Park where they dominated Munster champions Tipperary to maintain their Division Three status.

The most impressive part of the win was their solidity at the back as they shut down the Tipperary forwards.

It will be a close game between Carlow and Longford but it could be an entertaining one.

Prediction: Longford by 3

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