The Leinster Under-21 football championship gets underway Tuesday night with six teams involved; Dublin v Carlow, Laois v Offaly, and Meath v Louth we have live commentary updates.
Dublin v Carlow
Dublin begin the defence of their crown with a tough game against an improving Carlow side in the preliminary round of this year’s championship. The game takes place at 7:30pm in Parnell Park and will signal a return to action for the much-publicised Ciarán Kilkenny. The talented youngster moved to Australia last November in a bid to forge a career in the Australian Football League, but opted to return to Castleknock at the beginning of this year. Kilkenny was a key member of last year’s championship-winning side and will have a big part to play tonight. Dublin manager Dessie Farrell is spoilt for choice with regards to team selection, having five of last year’s All-Ireland winners at his disposal, as well as a number of graduates from the All-Ireland winning minor team . Farrell will look to Jack McCaffrey, Emmet Ó Conghaile, Paul Mannion and Dannny Byrne as the elder lemons needed to motivate the newer members of the squad. The number could have been bigger if it were not for injury ruling out both Philly Ryan and Luke Fletcher. The star of Dublin’s 2012 All-Ireland winning team, Cormac Costello, has also succumbed to injury and is unavailable for selection. The Carlow team is yet to be released, but the Dublin starting fifteen can be seen below.
Carlow were comprehensively beaten by Westmeath in the quarter final’s of the 2012 championship on a scoreline of 0-11 to 0-03 and have been dealt a tough hand in this year’s draw. It is hard to see them getting anything from Tuesday’s game, as Dublin are fully expected to make this year’s final once again.
DUBLIN: Lorcan Molloy (St Anne’s); Michael Durcan (Kilmacud Crokes), David Byrne (Naomh Olaf), Niall McGovern (Na Fianna); Eric Lowndes (St Peregrine’s), Conor Mulally (Cuala), Jack McCaffrey (Clontarf); Emmet Ó Conghaile (Lucan Sarsfields), Glen Whelan (Ballinteer St John’s); Shane Carthy (Naomh Mearnóg), Michael Gibbs (Naomh Mearnóg), Danny Byrne (St Maur’s); Paul Mannion (Kilmacud Crokes), Adam Caffrey (Na Fianna), Ciarán Kilkenny (Castleknock).
Laois v Offaly
Laois and Offaly face off in the preliminary round of the Leinster Under-21 Football Championship in Portlaoise on Tuesday at 7:30pm. Offaly will come into the game as favourites, but Laois know they have a chance to upset the odds. Laois were dismantled by eventual winners Dublin in last year’s quarter-final and will no doubt want to put on a much-better display tonight. They have a talented full-forward line and will look to Evan Costello to provide the scores from play.
Offaly were very unlucky not to qualify for last year’s final, losing by two points to Louth in the penultimate round. Although Louth went on to get hammered in the final by Dublin, one feels that the physicality of Offaly would have caused Dublin a lot more problems. Offaly’s team for Tuesday’s clash includes five players that featured for the county’s senior team during the National Football League loss to Limerick. It also includes nine players that were involved in last year’s semi-final loss and that experience will undoubtedly stand to them tonight. Offaly will look to Eoin Rigney, David Hanlon and Derek Kelly to see them through tonight’s encounter.
The winners of tonight’s game will face Wicklow in the Leinster quarter-final.
LAOIS: Graham Brody (Portlaoise); Mark Dowling (The Heath), Mark O’Halloran (Courtwood), Stephen Attride (Killeshin); Kieran Lennon (Timahoe), Padraig McEvoy (Ballylinan), Dan Dunne (St Joseph’s); Adam Ryan (Portarlington), Matthew Campion (St Joseph’s); Kevin McGrath (Portarlington), Liam McGovern (Portlaoise), Damien O’Connor (Timahoe); Evan O’Carroll (Crettyard), Evan Costello (Emo), Paul Kingston (Barrowhouse).
OFFALY: Mark Langtry (Doon); Declan Hogan (Tullamore), Eoin Rigney (Rhode), James McPadden (Rhode); David Hanlon (Edenderry), Derek Kelly (Edenderry), Philip Foy (Clonmore Harps); Conor McNamee (Rhode), Eoin Carroll (Cappincur); Stuart Cullen (Edenderry), Peter Cunningham (Bracknagh), Aaron McDonagh (Ferbane); Paul McPadden (Rhode), Ciaran Hurley (Edenderry), Stephen Hannon (Rhode
Meath v Louth
Meath and Louth will go head-to-head in Pairc Tilteann at 7:30pm tonight, in the preliminary round of the Under-21 Leinster Football Championship.
Meath have been handed a tough draw to begin their Under-21 Leinster Championship cam[aign. They will be looking to put last year’s swift exit in the first round behind them and make the right start on Tuesday night. Brian Dillon is a huge player for Meath and they will look to the captain for inspiration tonight. Meath will aim to supply Daniel Queeney and Bobby O’ Brien with ample time on the ball, a necessity if they are to beat a strong Louth outfit.
Last year’s beaten finalists, Louth, will come into the game looking to hit the ground running and go one further than they did during the 2012 Championship. In truth, they were steam-rolled by Dublin in the final, but there is no doubt that they have benefited from the experience. They should begin the championship with a victory tonight. Manager David Reilly has named his team, leaving the right-half forward position vacant. Cian McEvoy is facing a race against time to be fit, but Reilly is giving the young star every opportunity to prove himself. The promising Ciarán Byrne starts at left-corner forward and will be a thorn in the Meath defence. If Byrne performs to the best of his ability, then Meath don’t stand a chance.
MEATH: Conor Mc Hugh (Oldcastle); Simon Carty (Dunderry), David Mc Quillan (St. Patrick’s), Cathal Finn (St. Peters, Dunboyne); Brian Dillon (Navan O’Mahony’s), Brian Moore (Duleek/Bellewstown), Neil Shortall (Curraha); Conor Sheridan (Simonstown Gaels), Cian O’Brien (Ratoath); Shane Barry (Simonstown Gaels), Conor Downey (Na Fianna), Daniel Queeney (Na Fianna); Eamon Wallace (Ratoath), Bobby O’Brien (Ratoath), Bryan McMahon (Ratoath).
LOUTH: Kevin Brennan; Ciaran Ward, Dermot Campbell, Kevin Toner; Michael McKeown, Anthony Williams, Shane McMahon; Robert Brodigan, Martin Breen; AN Other, Conall McKeever, Michael Rafferty; Kevin Hearty, Patrick Reilly, Ciaran Byrne.
Reigning champions Dublin have held onto a good number of last year’s team, while also graduating players from the All-Ireland- winning minor team. They look to be in a better position than they did during last year’s championship and that is a frightening proposition for the chasing pack. Dublin are 1/100 to beat Carlow , demonstrating the gulf in class between the teams. Offaly offer the most value tonight and they are currently 4/7 to beat Laois with Boylesports.com.