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Offaly young guns are restoring Faith

THE slings and arrows of outrageous Offaly fortune...



(Parnell Park, Tonight 7.30)

Just as their senior footballers are careering towards Division Four, their U21 young guns are restoring the faith. Here's the common theme: Emmet McDonnell is managing both teams.

Last Sunday, McDonnell saw his floundering seniors lose by 3-19 to 2-4 in Roscommon, leaving them pointless after five rounds in Division Three. The table doesn't lie ... and, yet, neither do the results in this year's Leinster U21 Championship.

Offaly have made two midweek road trips and won both of them convincingly. Wexford were outclassed by 1-16 to 0-6, but the 0-13 to 0-9 dethronements of the holders from Kildare was even more eye-catching.

They had many heroes that night – dominant midfielder Eoin Carroll and key forwards Peter Cunningham and Joe Maher topping the list .

Meath have qualified the hard way, surviving an extra-time thriller with Louth before winning last week's replay by 1-13 to 0-10.

Victory, however, came at a massive cost, with Éamon Wallace sidelined for the year after tearing his cruciate.

Séamus Mattimoe replaces the stricken county senior, having landed five points as an early replacement last week.

Wallace's absence could yet prove a tie-breaker.

ODDS: Offaly 10/11, Draw 7/1, Meath 11/10