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Saturday 24 June 2017

Meath looking for unlikely Lilywhite favour

Kildare manager Cian O'Neill. Photo: Daire Brennan/Sportsfile
Kildare manager Cian O'Neill. Photo: Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

The Division 2 table offers solace for those who have long lamented Leinster football's descent into a lopsided mismatch of dominant Dubs and the rest.

Kildare promoted, for the second year running, and with a game to spare.

Meath still in the hunt for top-flight elevation. Or are they?

In theory, yes ... but the fixture-making gods have conspired against them.

To leapfrog Galway, Meath must win in Ennis (no guarantees there) and then hope Kildare topple the Tribesmen in Salthill.

In that scenario, Meath would join Galway on the nine-point mark and pip them under the head-to-head rule.

But this supposedly simple permutation presupposes that Kildare will bring their A-game, let alone their 'A' team.

The widely-held suspicion is that Cian O'Neill will give plenty of his fringe players a weekend audition.

He would be perfectly within his rights to do so, having earned promotion early ... but that would only play into Galway hands.

The bookies have made up their minds, pricing Galway as 1/6 favourites against the table-toppers. Clearly they have learned from the farcical outcome of Wexford/Westmeath last weekend.

At the other end it's all to play for, with bottom-placed Derry visiting Fermanagh in a relegation shootout while Down and Clare aren't safe either.

(ALL GAMES TOMORROW 2.0)

Cusack Park: Clare v Meath, J Hickey (Carlow). Odds: Clare 6/4 Draw 15/2 Meath 4/6. Verdict: Meath

Pearse Stadium: Galway v Kildare, B Cassidy (Derry). Odds: Galway 1/6 Draw 10/1 Kildare 5/1. Verdict: Galway

Páirc Uí Rinn: Cork v Down, J Molloy (Galway). Odds: Cork 4/11 Draw 8/1 Down 11/4. Verdict: Cork

Brewster Park: Fermanagh v Derry, M McNally (Monaghan). Odds: Fermanagh evens Draw 15/2 Derry evens. Verdict: Derry

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