Monday 22 January 2018

Meath can upset Lilies

Keith Barr

ARE Meath ready to spring an ambush? I have had a growing feeling this week that they might be.

There are a couple of reasons for this. In last week's win over Galway, there were flashes of the old Meath resolve and at times in the first half they had a lovely fluidity to their play.

Kildare didn't score for 15 minutes against Laois, and Meath, in front of a packed Navan, could have the damage done at that stage with the forwards they have.

The Lilies have been relying on their second-half power surges to see them home but that didn't work against Dublin and it's a dangerous way to live.

Throw in the fact that Pairc Tailteann doesn't hold too many happy memories for Kieran McGeeney -- they were beaten by Louth on their last championship outing there -- and Kildare could be looking at a banana skin.

It shows how far the provincial championships have fallen when the tie of the weekend is a qualifier.

In Connacht, the bookmakers have stuck with tradition and made Mayo favourites, despite the fact that they have really only played one decent half of football in the championship so far, when they turned over Galway after the restart in Castlebar.

Still, Roscommon haven't managed back-to-back titles since 1991 and James Horan's Mayo can improve enough to prevail.

Up north, Derry can defy the injuries to the Bradleys and beat Donegal. After beating Tyrone, Jim McGuinness' side are favourites but they only managed 2-6 that day and John Brennan has a refreshingly simplistic approach to the game that Derry have responded to, meaning they could upset the odds.

In the back door I expect Down, Limerick, Armagh and Meath to progress.

Irish Independent

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