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Cheesed Off' Cheddar ...

Laois v Offaly

(tomorrow, Portlaoise 3.30)

THE positives for Laois? Three competitive matches in preparation for this midland derby; home advantage; and the return of their charismatic manager.

And the negatives? It hardly constitutes ideal preparation for that boss, Seamus 'Cheddar' Plunkett, to resign and then return inside the last fortnight. How much mental energy has been expended in a negative way?

That said, his counterpart Brian Whelahan (pictured) this week warned: "We are no strangers to that in Offaly ... if there is one thing that copperfastens the bond that players have together, it's this type of controversy during the season."

Back on the field, Laois emerged from the qualifying group without hinting at the type of form that came so close to ambushing Galway in the last two summers. Faithful firepower to hold sway ... after a battle.

ODDS: Laois 2/1 Draw 10/1 Offaly 1/2


Westie ban woes mount

Westmeath v Wexford

(tomorrow, cusack pk 3.30)

EVEN though eventually pipped by Laois for top spot, Westmeath were the story of this year's round-robin group.

Suspension woes, however, now threaten to scupper already slim chances of an upset with two key men - Robbie Greville and freetaker Niall O'Brien - ruled out tomorrow.

Wexford to march on, but keeping the defeat to single digits would be further evidence of a progressive Westmeath campaign.

ODDS: West 8/1 Draw 20/1 Wex 1/14

VERDICT: Wexford

boylesports bet

The herald wager: €10 on Laois and Kildare to draw @ 15/2; €5 on Derry and Down to draw @ 15/2; €20 treble on Westmeath (+10) to beat Wexford @ 10/11, Dublin to beat Galway @ evens and Offaly to beat Laois @ 1/2; €15 treble on Cork to beat Waterford @ 8/13, Laois to beat Kildare @ evens and Down to beat Derry @ 6/4

Carryover profit: €215.09

the blanche bet: €5 on Dublin and Galway to draw @ 8/1; €30 treble on Offaly to beat Laois, Cork to beat Waterford and Derry to beat Down @ 10/3; €15 double on Derry SF and Cork SH to lead at HT and win at FT @ 6/1.

Carryover profit: €355

- Frank Roche

leinster shc