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Laois can push for promotion

LONGFORD v LAOIS

(Pearse Park, Tomorrow, 2.30)

A BIG step forward for Laois last Saturday with a highly-impressive win over Galway ... but at least one backwards this week with news that Cahir Healy has decided to devote his inter-county intentions to the Laois hurlers.

Healy's man-marking abilities are renowned and Justin McNulty will feel his absence, particularly as promotion remains a live target.

Longford are Division 2's surprise package in that it's a shock they've lost every game.

Laois, with real ambitions of a top-two finish, should exact some small revenge for last year's Leinster championship loss.

ODDS: Longford 11/5, Draw 15/2, Laois 1/2

VERDICT: Laois

GALWAY v WEXFORD

(Pearse Stadium, Tomorrow, 12.45)

WE can't quite be sure what Galway are just now ... except that they're carrying all the hallmarks of a typical Division 2 team this year; good, bad and largely inconsistent. Likewise, Wexford.

Lee Chin is named at right-half back for them after missing recent matches due to his involvement with Liam Dunne's hurlers, while Conor Carty is named in the attack.

The winner will have something to play for going into the final weekend and at first glance, that's much more likely to be Galway.

ODDS: Galway 4/6, Draw 15/2, Wexford 13/8

VERDICT: Galway

LOUTH v DERRY

(Drogheda, Tomorrow, 2.0)

LOUTH won in Armagh last weekend, not entirely expected, but not a huge shock either.

And get this; with pointless Longford to come at home in their final match, Louth would take a giant step towards promotion and the rarefied air of Division 1 if they were to beat Derry.

They'll have to do it without Paddy Keenan, though a midfield of Brian Donnelly and Ronan Carroll should at least hold firm against a Derry gaining more traction than most this spring.

ODDS: Louth 5/4, Draw 7/1, Derry 10/11

VERDICT: Louth

WESTMEATH v ARMAGH

(Mullingar, Tomorrow, 2.0)

SO Westmeath are through the gap, back to Division 1 and with two weeks to spare.

Not only are they unbeaten, either. But they have staged comebacks in all five of their matches thus far. They could effectively consign Armagh to relegation and just because their own fate is assured, we're not inclined to think that Pat Flanagan's men will let up.

The Orchard County lost at home to Louth last weekend, which tells you everything about their current malaise and another defeat beckons here.

ODDS: Westmeath 4/7, Draw 15/2, Armagh 19/10 VERDICT: Westmeath


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