DCU will not make life after Micko any easier for Wicklow
O'BYRNE CUP FIRST ROUND
WICKLOW v DCU
(Baltinglass, Tomorrow, 2.0)
WICKLOW will take to the pitch tomorrow minus that intangible quality with which they were graced for the last five years: 'The Micko Factor'.
Quite what that is, no one exactly knows. But it has been widely credited for extracting uncharacteristically good results from traditionally low-lying counties.
By virtue of his long and successful association with Garden County market leader, Rathnew, Harry Murphy, possesses an intimate knowledge of Wicklow but whether he can extend their summer like the great Waterville man is another question entirely.
DCU come equipped with a squad that reads like an All Stars nominations list and pedigree in this competition.
All-Ireland medalists, Paul Flynn, Philly McMahon and James McCarthy are all part of Niall Moyna's squad, as are marquee forwards Michael Murphy (Donegal), Donie Shine (Roscommon), David Kelly (Sligo) and quicksilver Dublin U21 forward Gary Sweeney.
ODDS: Wicklow 5/2, Draw 15/2, DCU 4/11
Students to snuff out realigned Laois
O'BYRNE CUP FIRST ROUND
LAOIS v UCD
(Crettyard, Tomorrow, 2.0)
IMITATION is the sincerest form of flattery, apparently, so Justin McNulty has doffed his cap firmly in the direction of Pat Gilroy by conducting his own pre-dawn training session, albeit only one day a week.
Gilroy's theory on the pre-breakfast slog was that it built character and as an eminent subscriber to the theories of sports psychology, McNulty must have similar intentions.
Talent has never been Laois' problem and the perception -- rightly or wrongly -- is that they lack the necessary discipline and fortitude to be successful.
A host of fresh faces make the teamsheet for tomorrow's clash with UCD alongside stalwarts, Pádraig Clancy and Billy Sheehan.
UCD are able to call on the considerable talents of Kilmacud Crokes seniors, Rory O'Carroll, Mark Coughlan, Craig Dias along with Galway under-21 star Colin Forde, Armagh's Kevin Dyas and Laois' own Donie Kingston -- who has opted out of the O'Moore County panel this year.
LAOIS: M Dowling; J Kavanagh, K Lillis, B Mulligan; C Munnelly, S Julian, C Boyle; P Clancy, A Kelly; D O'Connor, J Finn, A Mahon; C Kelly, B Sheehan, G Walsh.
ODDS: Laois 6/5, Draw 7/1, UCD 5/6
-- CONOR McKEON