Wednesday 19 June 2019

Dubs start new season as hottest favourites in history for league and championship double


Dublin Manager Jim Gavin. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Dublin Manager Jim Gavin. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

So wide is the perceived gap between Dublin footballers and their main pursuers that they start the new season this weekend as the hottest favourites in history to land the Allianz league and All-Ireland double.

They are as short as 6/4 to win the league for the sixth time in seven years and later become the first team to take the Sam Maguire Cup for a fifth successive season.

They begin their campaign in Clones tomorrow against Monaghan (2.0), who were the only team to beat them in 16 league and championship outings last year.

That was in the last round of the Division 1 campaign in a game Dublin didn't need to win as they had already qualified for the final against Galway.

Four new managers will patrol the sidelines in the other three Division 1 games.

First up will be James Horan (Mayo), who returns for a second stint, and Anthony Cunningham (Roscommon) when their sides launch the campaign in Elverys MacHale Park tonight (7.0). The game will be shown live on eir Sport.

Tomorrow will see Peter Keane (pictured) having his first outing in charge of Kerry when they take on Tyrone in Killarney. Mickey Harte heads into his 17th season as Tyrone manager.

Mickey Graham, who is also busily preparing Longford champions Mullinalaghta for next month's All-Ireland club semi-final, begins his term as Cavan boss against Galway in Pearse Stadium tomorrow.

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There are four new managers - Liam Sheedy (Tipperary), Paraic Fanning (Waterford), Mattie Kenny (Dublin) and Eddie Brennan (Laois) - in Division 1 of the hurling league.

Sheedy returns after a nine-year absence, having led Tipperary to All-Ireland glory in 2010.

They begin their campaign in Semple Stadium tonight (7.0) against Clare who beat them in the Munster League final last Sunday week. The game will be shown live on eir Sport.

With the hurling league format due to change next year, there will be no relegation/promotion between Divisions 1A and 1B.

However, the bottom team in 1B will drop out and be replaced by the 2A champions.

Around 120,000 spectators are expected to attend the weekend's action in what will be the start of a hectic period, with 214 football and hurling games to be completed by March 31.

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