There are six games down for decision in the Leinster Minor Football Championship this weekend. All the matches take place on Saturday evening and have thrown up some interesting pairings.
ESB Leinster MFC
Carlow v Laois, Carlow, 6.30pm
Dublin 4-15 0-07 Westmeath, Parnell Park FT
Kildare 1-15 0-08 Longford, Newbridge FT
Kilkenny 0-00 5-14 Wexford, Gorey, 3pm
Louth 1-13 1-11 Meath, Haggardstown FT
Wicklow 1-09 3-07 Offaly, Aughrim FT
Perhaps the tie of the round, sees the meeting of Dublin and Westmeath at Parnell Park(3pm). The visitors have long had a strong history at underage level in the province and that has progressed to senior level in recent seasons. While the Westmeath seniors may have been relegated from the top tier of the league in 2010,they look set to return as second division champions this year. At minor level the side are always a force to be reckoned with, and they will certainly put it up to Dublin here. However, Dublin are unbeaten in the minor league to date, having seen off Offaly and easily disposing of Laois and Wexford. Home advantage should be enough to see the Dubs through here.
Carlow and Laois do battle in Dr Cullen Park at 6.30 on Saturday evening. Similar to Westmeath, Laois have always had a proud tradition at underage level and will be anxious to get the win here, as they have really struggled to date this season. Defeats against Dublin and Wexford and a draw against Louth have left them with plenty to do. Carlow have home advantage but it is unlikely to prove enough, and while Laois have to step up a gear they are still the form choice in this game.
Home advantage should count for more in Newbridge(3pm), where the hosts, Kildare are taken to overcome Longford. The Lilywhites have been one of the most progressive counties in the province over the past decade and the investment at underage level looks set to bear fruition in the coming years. Longford have improved a great deal recently and their Under-21 side only just lost out to Wexford in the provincial decider. The minor side have beaten Meath and Carlow already this year and look to be on an upward curve. However, Kildare are just that step ahead at present and are expected to come through this test.
Wexford have the easiest task this weekend, faced with the trip to Kilkenny(3pm). Although they have had a mixed campaign to date, the men from the South East should have little difficulty disposing of the cats challenge. Kilkenny have never had any pedigree in football at any level and it would be a surprise were they to defeat Wexford on Saturday. Offaly and Wicklow have already handed out heavy defeats to the cats and unfortunately a third one looks on the cards this weekend.
Louth host Meath at Haggardstown at 3pm, in a game where the visitors should have the upper hand. While at senior level,Louth have more than held their own,this has yet to apply in underage football. Meath have done well historically with their minor teams and should be capable of taking the spoils in this one. A good run in the under-18 competition would be a huge boost to Meath football right now and their season should continue after this weekend.
The final match in the minor competition, sees the meeting of Wicklow and Offaly at Aughrim(3pm). Again, as with most of the ties we have previewed, the visitors must be favourites to come away with the victory. The Faithful County put it up to Dublin last time, only just losing out on a scoreline of 2-09 to 2-06. They have a strong side and will take plenty of beating in this game. However, if there is to be a surprise this weekend, then it is possible that this match will provide it. Wicklow football is on a high right now and Aughrim is a very difficult ground for visiting teams to take anything from.
15:00 Kilkenny U18 v Wexford U18
10/1 16/1 1/50
15:00 Wicklow U18 v Offaly U18
13/5 15/2 1/3
15:00 Louth U18 v Meath U18
9/4 7/1 2/5
15:00 Kildare U18 v Longford U18
2/5 7/1 9/4
15:00 Dublin U18 v Westmeath U18
8/15 7/1 7/4
18:30 Carlow U18 v Laois U18
11/8 7/1 4/6
Laois (MF v Carlow): Graham Brody; Mark Cahill, Mark O’Halloran, Eoin George; Padraig Murphy, Padraig McEvoy, Dan Dunne; Matthew Campion, Keith Bracken; Martin Scully, Evan Costello, Stephen Attrite; Brian Kenna, Liam McGovern, Paul Kingston.
Westmeath (MF v Dublin): Darren Brady; Paul Maxwell, James Ganley, Cian Bradley; Robbie Greville, Killian Daly, David Lynch; Dean McNicholas, Paddy Holloway; Neal Kirby, David McCormack, David Whelehan; Alan Coffey, Lorcan Dolan, Paul Fennell.
Meath (MFC v Louth) – 1. Robert Burlington Simonstown Gaels, 2. Anthony Forde Moynalvey, 3. Conor McGill Ratoath, 4. Cathal Finn St Peters Dunboyne, 5. Declan Smyth Dunsany, 6. Shane McEntee St Peters Dunboyne, 7. Shane Melia Donaghmore/Ashbourne, 8. Conor Sheridan Simonstown Gaels, 9. Adam Flanagan Clonard, 10. Niall Shorthall St Vincents/Curraha, 11. Cathal Smith O’Mahonys, 12 Seamus Mattimoe Round Towers, 13. Bobby O’Brien Ratoath, 14 Cillian O’Sullivan Moynalvey, 15. Willie McGrath Ballinlough/Inny Gaels