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Meath need to be let off their Laois for survival

LAOIS v MEATH

(Portlaoise, Tonight, 7.0)

TYPICAL Meath, you might say.

They set off for Ballybofey last Sunday with an away League record that read like a particularly grim novel and equally recent macabre dossier of results against Ulster teams.

Thus, they were 5/1 to win a two-horse race against the stallions of Division 2.

And probably for no other reason than their very Meath-ness, they almost had Donegal – until then, Division 2's runaway team – beaten on their own patch until Michael Murphy's late free killed what would have been a fairly compelling upset.

If that result gave Meath hope, a glance at the League table won't do much for their optimism. They're third bottom on three points, one ahead of Galway and an identical distance behind Laois, to whom they travel this evening.

News that Éamonn Wallace's (inset) cruciate injury, sustained midweek against Louth, will rule him out for the season is a devastating blow for Mick O'Dowd, who has invested enormous faith in the Ratoath speedster.

Laois had their moments against Armagh, but lost by nine. At home, they should mount a more compelling performance.

It'll be tight, but Meath are the more organised, rounded team and their need is greater.

ODDS: Laois EVS, Draw 15/2, Meath EVS

VERDICT: Meath

ARMAGH v MONAGHAN

(Athletic Grounds, Tonight, 7.0)

ALL of a sudden, Division 2 is starting to look like an Ulster members-only club and Armagh, despite a ropey-ish start to spring, are smack bang in contention.

Two weeks back, against Meath, you couldn't but see the importance of Jamie Clarke to their prospects, but last week Stefan Campbell (1-4), Tony Kernan (0-6, 4f) and Ethan Rafferty (1-2) did the damage.

It bodes well.

ODDS: Armagh 11/8, Draw 15/2, Monaghan 8/11

VERDICT: Armagh

DOWN v DONEGAL

(Newry, Tomorrow, 2.0)

DONEGAL can almost make certain of promotion here, although you suspect Jim McGuinness sees momentum and confidence as the nectar of spring, rather than the tangible rewards on offer.

They were steeped in good luck against Meath last week and have, over the past couple of years, endured some physical, hectic battles with Down, where the reception is likely to be colourful tomorrow.

They're still the Division's top scorers and lowest conceders, though, and should win.

ODDS: Down 6/4, Draw 15/2, Donegal 4/6

VERDICT: Donegal

LOUTH v GALWAY

(Drogheda, Tomorrow, 2.30)

QUITE how you can go from a 15-point hiding in Portlaoise to a comfortable seven-point win against Down is a mystery, probably, to Galway football supporters, but that's what they have endured this past fortnight.

Louth, meanwhile, need to shake a leg quickly or they'll drop and, in truth, whoever loses here is likely to be relegated.

ODDS: Louth 11/8, Draw 15/2, Galway 8/11

VERDICT: Louth

– COMPILED BY CONOR McKEon


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