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Wee men can break the hearts of Models

AIDAN O'ROURKE had some interesting things to say about his mercurial Louth charges after they filleted Laois. In some respects, it was typically cautious manager-speak – but it also highlighted a meandering mindset that has been their undoing in the past.

"There's a phenomenal amount of football talent within the squad and on any given day, if the heads are right, we're a match for most teams," he said. "The one thing I can tell you about the Louth mentality is whenever we think for a second that we have a half-easy game coming up, we're well capable of being taken apart."

O'Rourke was obviously speaking with Wexford in mind, and was quick to remind his Portlaoise audience that, when they met in the league last March, the Slaneysiders "came to Drogheda and wiped the floor with us".

For the record, the actual result was 2-13 to 2-9 but the manner of Louth's fadeout over the last 25 minutes (when they were outscored nine points to one) offers a salutary lesson for tomorrow's hosts.

And one, we suspect, they will put to good use at a sold-out Drogheda. While Wexford have been the second most consistent Leinster championship team over the past five seasons, it remains to be seen whether Aidan O'Brien can maintain the benchmark set by Jason Ryan.

A faltering finish to the league led to relegation from Division Two. Louth finished fourth in the same division before hitting the summer ground at full pelt two weeks ago.

ODDS: Louth 8/13, Draw 15/2, Wexford 7/4

VERDICT: Louth

ANTRIM v MONAGHAN

(Casement Park, Tomorrow 3.30)

MONAGHAN have won Division Three, and in swashbuckling style too against Meath. Antrim were relegated from the same division. Monaghan clinched promotion and sealed Antrim's Division Four fate with an emphatic 3-15 to 0-13 win back in April. Both sides are under new management but only one has established any spring momentum. If this preview is pointing one way – the nearest you'll get to an away banker in the minefield that is Ulster – you'd be right.

ODDS: Antrim 7/2, Draw 9/1, Monaghan 2/7

VERDICT: Monaghan


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