DUBLIN may be soaring ahead of the rest, but their chief rivals in Leinster haven't given up the All-Ireland ghost just yet and both Meath and Kildare are gunning for places at the quarter-final table this weekend.
Meath will start as marginal 6/5 underdogs when facing Armagh in tomorrow's opening SFC qualifier at Croke Park (5.0) whereas Kildare are an even longer 21/10 shot against the vanquished Ulster champions, Monaghan (7.0).
While the odds may favour an Ulster double, their two Leinster rivals have massive incentive as they go chasing a last-eight place. The Royals, especially, are desperate to atone for their supine 16-point collapse to Jim Gavin's men (pictured) 12 days ago, knowing victory would not alone restore some lost pride but set up a massive quarter-final date with Ulster kingpins Donegal.
As former Meath manager Colm Coyle told The Herald: "They're out of the Leinster championship but they've a great opportunity in the All-Ireland championship.
"They're playing Armagh now and, you know, I'm not saying that they'll win it but they've potential to win it. It's a 50-50 game, and with a chance of redemption two weeks later, not like the old days when you'd have to wait ten months to get back."
Meanwhile, Jason Ryan will be hoping his Kildare charges carry on where they left off against Clare - turning a fraught six-point deficit into a battling one-point victory.
This is reflected in Ryan's selection to face Monaghan, with three changes from the team that started and initially struggled against Clare. Mick Foley returns at full-back along with attacking duo Tomás O'Connor and Eoghan O'Flaherty (their first two subs in Ennis) as Emmet Bolton, Gary White and Padraig Fogarty make way.
KILDARE (SF v Monaghan): M Donnellan; C Fitzpatrick, M Foley, M O'Grady; O Lyons, F Conway, K Cribbin; T Moolick, P O'Neill; C McNally, N Kelly, E Callaghan; A Smith, T O'Connor, E O'Flaherty.