Christie's cubs have firepower to edge it
leinster MFC FIRST RD
DUBLIN v OFFALY
(Parnell Park, Today, 12.30)
PADDY CHRISTIE'S Dublin will aim to get the defence of their Electric Ireland Leinster MFC title off to a winning start when they face Offaly in Parnell Park this afternoon (12.30)
With very few players involved from last year's squad, Dublin manager Paddy Christie has a relatively inexperienced panel to call upon as they look to hit the ground running against the Faithful County.
Nonetheless, Christie will have been encouraged by his side's recent capture of the Leinster Minor League earlier this spring with the Dubs having enjoyed successive wins over provincial rivals Meath in the semi-final before accounting for Kildare in the final in Hawkfield.
The team is captained by Brian Howard, one of the few survivors from last year, and the Raheny player is expected to play a central role in the pivotal centre-back position.
The Dubs can also take confidence from defeating Offaly in the league by 2-15 to 0-8 back in February although that final scoreline slightly flattered the Dubs as they pulled clear in the second-half and Offaly did enjoy wins over Limerick and Westmeath to finish the group in second spot.
It is unlikely that such a margin will separate the sides tomorrow but the likes of Seán Caffrey, Kevin Callaghan and Dillon Keating have enough scoring potential to ensure a winning start for the holders.
Offaly captain Jack Walsh and Cathal Mangan have been passed fit to start after overcoming injuries as the Faithful County bid to avenge last year's humiliating 25-point semi-final defeat at O'Connor Park, Tullamore.
OFFALY: K Kinahan; PJ Daly, C Horan, R Hynes; D Dempsey, G Smyth, A Keyes; C Maher, C Mangan; D Hyland, K Higgins, R Heavin; S Tierney, S O' Brien, J Walsh.