herald

Sunday 4 December 2016

Offaly keen to find their lost pride

WATERFORD v OFFALY

(Fraher Field, Today, 2.0)

FOR some reason he didn't get to specify, Aogán Ó Fearghail (above) anointed this fixture the one he was looking most forward to of the first round qualifiers.

The downtrodden Gaels of Offaly may disagree.

If their Leinster SFC record is beginning to look apocalyptic (by the time they start next year's competition, they'll have won no game in it for nine years) the Faithful's qualifier tale of the tape ain' t a whole pile sunnier.

They've won six and lost 13 through the back door and you have to go back to 2011 and their eight point win over Monaghan for the last time Offaly won a Championship match.

It's a run that badly needs to stop and they should do it here.

ODDS: Waterford 11/4, Draw 15/2, Offaly 2/5

VERDICT: Offaly

LAOIS v ANTRIM

(Portlaoise, Today, 2.30)

PAUL KIngston returns to the Laois XV in the only change to the side that watched helpess as Kildare trampled all over their Leinster SFC ambitions in Tullamore last week.

Laois came within a sliver of losing at this very stage at this very venue to Fermanagh last year.

Forewarned and thus forearmed, they should be OK.

ODDS: Laois 1/7, Draw 10/1, Antrim 6/1

VERDICT: Laois

LONGFORD v CARLOW

(Pearse Park, Today, 7.0)

HOME to Carlow is about as amenable a draw as anyone could get in the qualifiers and provided Longford didn't take on board too much hurt from the Dublin drubbing, they should capitalise on their good fortune.

Cian Farrelly has left for America and Francis McGee is out with an elbow injury.

ODDS: Longford 1/8, Draw 12/1, Carlow 6/1

VERDICT: Longford

LONDON v CAVAN

(Ruislip, Today, 2.0)

CAVAN were a lot better than most gave them credit against Monaghan and should find the journey the most arduous thing here.

ODDS: London 8/1, Draw 16/1, Cavan 1/14

VERDICT: Cavan

SFC QUALIFIERS

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