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Tonight's previews: Dubs offer stern test of new Offaly optimism

O'Byrne Cup (7.30)

Dublin v Offaly, Parnell Park

Offaly and new manager Pat Flanagan enjoyed a dream start to the year with a comprehensive success over Laois that will help rebuild some brittle confidence but this is a much different test. Jim Gavin experimented last time out but included senior forwards Dean Rock and Eoghan O'Gara, who kicked 1-8 between them.

Verdict: Dublin

Laois v NUI Maynooth, Portarlington

Maynooth made their debut in this competition last time out and despite adopting a defensive set up still couldn't rattle Dublin. Laois are sure to react to their nine-point hammering by Offaly.

Verdict: Laois

Louth v UCD, Haggardstown, 8.0

Louth were nothing if not consistent last time out: having averaged a concession rate of 19 points a game in last year's Division 2 campaign, the Wee County coughed up 1-16 to Kildare in a 12-point defeat.

Verdict: UCD

Kildare v Carlow, Athy

Jason Ryan is prioritising an improvement in defence with Kildare and they held Louth to just seven points last weekend; it's hard to see Carlow getting enough scores here.

Verdict: Kildare

Meath v Longford, Pairc Tailteann

Meath did plenty of experimenting when beating Westmeath but it was their established players who did most to see them home. Longford went down to DCU and relied heavily on Francis McGee for scores and Meath should make home advantage count.

Verdict: Meath

Westmeath v DCU, Kinnegad

The long wait goes on for a competitive victory for Westmeath, with new manager Tom Cribbin admitting that his side were very low on confidence. DCU are equipped to prey on any weakness as they hit 3-13 against Longford last weekend and they can pile more misery on the midlanders.

Verdict: DCU

Wexford v IT Carlow, Enniscorthy

But for the bizarre circumstances that saw luckless Carlow IT full-back Conor Lawlor concede two own goals, the students might have gotten off to a winning start. Wexford have already lost to DIT but Ben Brosnan can fire them to a win here.

Verdict: Wexford

Wicklow v DIT, Bray

Two own goals helped Jonny Magee get off to a winning start in intercounty management but DIT, who have already beaten Wexford, should be much less generous.

Verdict: DIT

Irish Independent