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Strong-finishing Meath look to have more momentum

MEATH v DCU

(Navan, Tonight 7.0)

IT'S still eminently possible, of course, that Meath could be squeezed out of top spot in Group C ... but Mick O'Dowd's men have destiny in their own hands and would also appear to have more momentum coming out of midweek.

On the same night that DCU were faltering against Westmeath, Meath were laying waste to Longford in the second half at Páirc Tailteann. Thus, they now top the table with four points and a scoring difference of +14 - but a three-point victory for DCU (who have two points and a +10 scoring difference) would almost certainly see them advance, even in the event that Westmeath win tomorrow to create a three-way tie at the top (league positions in a two-way tie is decided by direct head-to-head).

Confused? Let's just see how it plays out.

One curious Meath feature is how they've been slow out of the first half blocks.

They trailed Westmeath by a point at half-time and by three soon after - but ran out six-point winners. At one stage they trailed Longford by five points and were level at the break - cue nine unanswered points before eventually winning by eight.DCU should offer more of a challenge, even if their own performance against Westmeath (conceding 3-11) was more porous than expected.

VERDICT: Meath

OFFALY v MAYNOOTH UNIVERSITY

(Tullamore, Tomorrow 2.0)

PAT FLANAGAN has already taken plenty of positives out of his first competitive week, even if Offaly couldn't sustain that promise until the finishing line in Parnell Park on Wednesday night.

Even with nothing tangible at stake, it will be intriguing to see if Maynooth make more hay in the midlands (fresh from lacerating Laois) ... one suspects they won't enjoy the same latitude.

VERDICT: Offaly

CARLOW v LOUTH

(Carlow, Tomorrow 2.15)

NEW boss Turlough O'Brien must wonder how Carlow are still pointless: they were level with UCD after 59 minutes only to lose by three, and were leading Kildare by two until Pádraig Fogarty's late goal. Louth were likewise denied by an injury-time UCD goal, which suggests a big improvement on their crushing defeat to Kildare.

VERDICT: Carlow

LONGFORD v WESTMEATH

(Ballymahon, Tomorrow 2.0)

Having finally ended their 20-month, 15-match losing streak in midweek, Westmeath will now seek to banish all caveats that they "only" defeated a college team in DCU. Denis Glennon could be back from injury, with a point to prove ... their form looks more convincing than Longford's.

VERDICT: Westmeath

WEXFORD v WICKLOW

(Páirc Uí Suiochan Gorey, Tomorrow 2.0)

WEXFORD were undone by a last-gasp DIT goal but avoided any more student-inflicted ambushes against Carlow IT. They'll be fancied to inflict a third straight defeat on Johnny Magee's Wicklow.

VERDICT: Wexford

CARLOW IT v DIT

(Carlow IT, Tomorrow 2.0)

WHILE Carlow IT have battled gamely, they're unlikely to halt a DIT crew destined for the semis.

VERDICT: DIT


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