Wednesday 25 April 2018

Leinster U21 Championship: Burns to heap misery on Carlow

Ryan Burns, Louth
Ryan Burns, Louth newsdesk

Louth v Carlow, Clan na Gael Grounds, Drogheda, 7.30, B Tiernan (Dublin)

Carlow will need no reminding of their last outing in this competition when they were beaten by 31 points by Dublin 12 months ago and managed just three points of their own over the hour.

Admittedly, that was a extremely talented Dublin side that went all the way to secure All-Ireland honours but that came on the back of a 37-point defeat to the same opposition a year earlier. That Dublin side went on to be chinned by Longford.

It remains to be seen if this year will be any different for the Barrowsiders.

Louth were competitive last year, bringing eventual Leinster finalists Meath to a replay before bowing out.

They include the likes of Ryan Burns, who represented the county at minor, U-21 and senior in the same season as a schoolboy last year.

The Hunterstown Rovers clubman also scored a goal with his first touch in senior football when helping Louth see off Westmeath in the Leinster championship.

With Conor Grimes beside him they can do enough damage in the full-forward line to heap plenty of misery on Carlow and progress to a showdown with either Longford or Wicklow.

Odds: Louth 1/6 Carlow 4/1 Draw 10/1

Verdict: Louth

Longford to progress past Garden men

Longford v Wicklow, Newtowncashel, 7.30, B Cawley (Kildare)

Longford have a strong record in this competition of late and have contested two of the last four Leinster finals without managing to get over the line in either of them.

In fact, the midlanders are just one of a handful of counties in the province not to gather silverware here.

Francis McNamee's side didn't enjoy the brightest of Hastings Cup campaigns though they started brightly when seeing off Galway in convincing fashion which hints at their underlying potential.

Wicklow, who are managed by Jonathan Daniels, have struggled to make much of an impression in underage football in recent years and are another of the counties yet to win this competition.

However, Daniels, along with selectors Paddy Moynihan and Brian Lennon, made up the full-forward line when the county reached the 2002 provincial decider in this grade.

They are always capable of producing something big on home soil but the trip to Newtowncashel means the midlanders have the edge here and can make it to the quarter-finals.

Odds: Longford 1/3 Wicklow 5/2 Draw 15/2

Verdict: Longford

Laois young guns to lift gloom

Wexford v Laois,  Bellefield, 7.30, K Kelly (Carlow)

Wexford made the breakthrough at this grade back in 2011 when they won their first provincial title but it hasn't quite gone to plan since.

Last season saw them go down to Offaly but manager Kevin Kehoe has been making all the right noises about his side this time around.

They have been training with the senior side once a week as manager David Power keeps an eye on the emerging talent and a number of the side that play tonight have already seen senior action this term.

They have been very active on the challenge game circuit for a date with a Laois side who come from a county with a strong pedigree in the underage grades but who, like Wexford, find themselves struggling at senior level so far this year and have yet to record a win in the National League.

They made it as far as the semi-final of the Shield competition in the Hastings Cup where they went down to Tipperary and while predictions are notoriously difficult to make in this grade, they could have enough to set up a date with Dublin in the quarter-finals.

Odds: Wexford 7/4 Laois 1/2 Draw 15/2

Verdict: Laois

Irish Independent

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