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Laois capable of ambushing the Saffrons

LAOIS v ANTRIM

(Portlaoise, Today 2.30)

ROUND three and already a must-win game for topsy-turvy Laois if they're to stay in the promotion shake-up.

It's debatable if home advantage will be a decisive factor here, given that their surprise setback against Carlow also came at O'Moore Park.

Prior to that, Brendan Fennelly's crew had hammered Westmeath whereas Antrim's formguide had a steadier look.

Still, we've a sneaking suspicion that a Laois backlash beckons.

ODDS: Laois 13/10, Draw 9/1, Antrim 7/10

VERDICT: Laois

Won't be easy for Treaty

DOWN v LIMERICK

(Portaferry, Tomorrow 1.30)

New Limerick boss Donal O'Grady keeps juggling his options with seven changes for the long trip north, but the early promotion favourites will still be hotly fancied for both points.

Mind you, this mightn't be the stroll in the park that some expect: Down have already ambushed Carlow at Portaferry and were unlucky 14-man losers when staging a second half fightback away to Kerry.

ODDS: Down 13/2, Draw 14/1, Limerick 1/12

VERDICT: Limerick

Banner will sink Lakers

WESTMEATH v CLARE

(Mullingar, Tomorrow 2.30)

The only pointless team are likely to be still staring up at the rest come Sunday evening. Any rays of hope for Westmeath, then?

Well, they hurled far better in defeat by Limerick than during their day-one collapse to Laois, so Kevin Martin must hope the formguide keeps moving up.

Clare's own meandering form is another source of potential comfort: they were abject against Limerick and left it late to sneak a vital victory in Antrim.

They get our tentative vote.

ODDS: Westmeath 5/1, Draw 12/1, Clare 1/7

VERDICT: Clare

Carlow to rule Kingdom

CARLOW v KERRY

(Dr Cullen Park, Tomorrow 2.30)

Kevin Ryan's crew should be cock-a-hoop after lowering Laois, but that will count for nothing unless they can win here.

Kerry have been competitive thus far but Carlow should prevail, especially if they can replicate the above performance.

ODDS: Carlow 2/5, Draw 10/1, Kerry 11/5

VERDICT: Carlow

- By Frank Roche