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'Bookies know who is favourites': Cribbin

TOM CRIBBIN has laughed off claims by Meath forward Graham Reilly that Westmeath will "go in as favourites" for a Leinster SFC final place on Sunday week.

"The bookies will let you know fairly quickly - and they don't make many mistakes," said the Westmeath manager.

A cursory check confirmed that Boylesports have priced Meath at 4/9 to win in 70 minutes, with Paddy Power quoting shorter odds of 4/11.

Reilly, one of the few Royals to approach top gear against Wicklow on Sunday, made his assertion based on the current championship form graphs of both counties.

Yet Cribbin played the history card in rebuttal, saying: "We are going up to Croke Park and it's been 2010 since we have been there (in a Leinster semi-final). We have our one Leinster title, and we have never beaten Meath in a championship match."

His inference was that, no matter how well your team is playing, it remains a huge challenge to deal with all of those factors. Cribbin also pointed out that Meath were riddled with injuries against Wicklow, and the removal of four or five players in key positions is bound to have a "huge impact on the team".

For his part, Westmeath chairman Seán Sheridan responded to these favouritism claims by saying: "Meath beat us well in the league and beat us in the O'Byrne Cup. I'd be hoping we'd perform well on the day - but I'd say Meath are favourites."