Saturday 24 February 2018

10

Dublin will beat Laois in the quarter-final next Saturday, but if they were to beat Kilkenny on June 23, it would open up the Leinster scene. It would also send Kilkenny on a different direction in the championship for the first time since 2004, adding to the summer excitement.

2 Kildare or Wexford winning the Leinster football title

Louth will feel they are still owed a title after the 2010 robbery by Meath in the final, but, in terms of consistency, Wexford and Kildare have been serious challengers over recent years. There's a tendency to think of Kildare as next-in-line behind Dublin, but Wexford have reached more Leinster finals than the Lilywhites in recent years. What's more, they have won more Leinster championship games than Kildare over the past six years. Winning Leinster would be a huge plus for Wexford or Kildare, while losing it wouldn't necessarily inflict too much damage on Dublin.

3 Peter Canavan leading Fermanagh to their first Ulster SF title

Their draw is about as good as it gets (Down at home in the quarter-final, with Antrim or Monaghan awaiting the winners) and history shows that a manager's first season often brings a sizeable uplift.

4 Wicklow beating Meath tomorrow

Wicklow have beaten Meath only once (1957) in the Leinster championship and arrive for this game off an impressive league campaign where they were promoted from Division 4, whereas Meath were relegated from Division 2. A win tomorrow would electrify Wicklow's season (Carlow await in the quarter-final) and would also encourage every underdog in the land.

5 Limerick winning the Munster football title

They came close to beating Kerry and Cork in finals over the last decade and deserve a break. With Kerry and Cork on the other side of the draw, Limerick have a great chance of reaching the final.

6 Leitrim stepping up

Leitrim (provided they don't slip up against London in the first round) beating Mayo in Castlebar for the first time in the Connacht championship in Castlebar. Leitrim haven't beaten Mayo or Galway in the championship since 1994 (their last title-winning season), so it would be a massive strike for outsiders everywhere.

7 Davy Fitzgerald leading Clare to a Munster title win

Limerick need a title even more than Clare, but are on the harder side of the draw which makes a breakthrough most unlikely. Clare are closing the gap rapidly on the front-runners.

8 An All-Ireland hurling final without Kilkenny, Tipperary or Cork

Nothing personal folks, but we haven't had one since 1996, so it would be nice to see different colours in Croke Park on final day.

9 An All-Ireland football final without Kerry, Cork or Tyrone

Galway v Meath in 2001 was the last final without Kerry, Cork or Tyrone and, as in hurling, variety would be nice.

10 A drawn All-Ireland hurling final

The last one was all of 53 years ago (Kilkenny v Waterford 1959), so the law of averages has missed several beats. A replayed final on September 30 would be a three-way hit, providing hurling with another high-profile outing, extending the GAA season at the end of a summer brimming with big-time international events and unloading around €5m into the Croke Park coffers.

Martin Breheny

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport