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Leinster U-21FC Quarter Finals - Potent Longford can progress

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Photo: SPORTSFILE

Photo: SPORTSFILE

Photo: ©SPORTSFILE

Photo: SPORTSFILE

Eirgrid Leinster U-21FC quarter-final (extra-time if necessary)

Longford v Louth, Newtowncashel, 7.30, D Hickey (Carlow)

Both teams have a game under their belts, which can lead to considerable progression game-on-game in this grade.

Longford laid down a marker when hitting four goals in their opening round game against Wicklow to run out convincing 17-point winners in a competition they have made themselves particularly competitive at in recent seasons, reaching two deciders in the last four years.

Louth were less convincing against Carlow. The Barrowsiders have suffered some heavy defeats in this competition in recent seasons but they pushed the Wee County hard last week with David Reilly's men having just four points to spare at the end.

The Wee men played the final quarter with just 14 men but showed character to get over the line. And that quality will be sorely tested here.

Odds: Longford 3/10 Louth 3/1 Draw 8/1

Verdict: Longford

 

Farrell's young guns to build on minor success

Eirgrid Leinster U-21FC quarter-final  (extra-time if necessary)    

Laois v Dublin, O'Moore Park, 7.30, S Murphy (Louth)

Three years ago Dublin were crowned All-Ireland minor champions and they can field a number of players who have already established themselves at senior.

Eric Lowndes, Shane Carthy and Cormac Costello have all been part of Jim Gavin's plans and with Dessie Farrell still at the helm of this side, they have largely kept that group together.

Laois have already had an outing together where they saw off Wexford after trailing by five points at one stage.

Their full-forward line of Evan O'Carroll, Evin Keane and Tom Shiels hit an impressive 4-3 between them but, even in this most unpredictable of grades, anything other than a clear Dublin win would go down as a major surprise to most as they look about defending their Leinster and All-Ireland titles.

Odds: Laois 13/2 Dublin 1/10 Draw 10/1

Verdict: Dublin

 

Senior experience gives Royals the edge

Eirgrid Leinster U-21FC quarter-final (extra-time if necessary)

Meath v Westmeath, Pairc Tailteann, 7.30, F Smyth (Offaly)

Meath should be competitive on the basis that three years ago in the minor grade, they lost both the Leinster and All-Ireland finals to Dublin.

However, it will be noted that Sean Barry's side have been well beaten in all of their Hastings Cup outings.

Those defeats should be taken in the context that they were without a number of key players who have been with the senior squad, including midfield pair Harry Rooney and Adam Flanagan, who have acquitted themselves well in Division 2 so far. In all six members of the senior panel start tonight.

The likes of Killian Daly and Ray Connellan acquitted themselves well against Kildare at the weekend but home advantage could just edge it for the Royals.

Odds: Meath 2/5 Westmeath 9/4 Draw 15/2

Verdict: Meath

Irish Independent