O'BYRNE CUP SEMI-FINAL
LOUTH v UCD
(Drogheda, Tomorrow 2.15)
YOU may find it strange that UCD, having already eclipsed Meath in their own Navan back yard, now find themselves a relatively distant 12/5 shot to repeat the trick against last year's other Leinster finalists.
The counter-argument to that, however, is that Louth have consistently scaled the O'Byrne Cup heights in recent seasons.
They won the competition two years ago, narrowly lost last year's decider against DCU, and have now enjoyed another flying January start with a landslide victory over Athlone IT followed by a four-point win over Wicklow last weekend.
One presumes that Peter Fitzpatrick won't lose too much sleep if they fail to claim the ultimate O'Byrne Cup spoils, so long as he unearths a few potential replacements for his departed 'Oz Three', and if Derek Maguire maintains the hot streak that saw him hit 2-1 against Wicklow.
ODDS: Louth 2/5, Draw 15/2, UCD 12/5
Banty can bag Royals reward but riches will have to wait
O'BYRNE SHIELD SEMI-FINAL
MEATH v LAOIS
(Páirc Tailteann, Tonight 7.0)
EARLY days yet, but it's still hard to decipher what transformative effect Seamus 'Banty' McEnaney and Justin McNulty will have on the respective fortunes of Meath and Laois.
Tonight's showdown will provide a few pointers, nothing more.
The understrength Royals were pipped at the post by UCD, while gettng the better of Kilkenny by 0-13 to 1-3 will hardly set the pulses racing.
Still, January is about finding players, not results, for Banty.
Laois's O'Byrne Cup ended early with defeat by Wicklow, then they were forced to extra-time by an Athlone IT outfit that was annihilated a week earlier by Louth.
Again, nothing to write home about just yet.
ODDS: Meath 4/7, Draw 15/2, Laois 13/8