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Meath to edge out Wee men

OLD rivalry with a new twist, as two rookie bosses (Mick O'Dowd and Aidan O'Rourke) look to build on their buoyant weekend baptisms.

GROUP A
MEATH v LOUTH (Navan 7.30)

New-look Meath opened with a merited winning raid on Longford and now O'Dowd makes seven changes, with Caoimhín King restored at full-back for injured All Star nominee Donal Keogan but Joe Sheridan staying in his new midfield 'home'.

ODDS: Meath 4/6, Draw 15/2, Louth 11/8
VERDICT: Meath

LONGFORD v UCD (Killoe 7.45)

THE home side are depleted, especially up front, and this could leave team vulnerable, especially if UCD raise their game after opening Louth defeat.

ODDS: Longford 8/11, Draw 15/2, UCD 5/4
VERDICT: UCD

GROUP B
WICKLOW v CARLOW (Bray 7.30)

CARLOW could take some solace from Dublin defeat, notably in their refusal to capitulate and a fourth quarter cameo from fit-again Brendan Murphy. But Wicklow could take something more tangible from their day-one deadlock with cup holders DCU.

ODDS: Wicklow 1/2, Draw 15/2, Carlow 15/8
VERDICT: Wicklow

GROUP C
LAOIS v WESTMEATH (Portlaoise 7.30)

A PROLIFIC start for the Westies saw the returning Dessie Dolan knock over his frees while Denis Glennon and Callum McCormack ran amok from open play. But having tallied 1-22 against Athlone IT, they'll find Justin McNulty's defence a more miserly challenge. Still, maybe momentum is with the visitors.

ODDS: Laois 8/11, Draw 15/2, Westmeath 5/4
VERDICT: Westmeath

OFFALY v ATHLONE IT (Gracefield 7.30)

THEIR relentless fall from grace has been a bitter pill for proud Offaly fans raised on glory days of old, but new boss Emmet McDonnell has the All-Ireland winning touch (albeit at college level) and the early tonic of a day-one victory over the Laois enemy. A porous AIT defence will struggle to contain the in-form Niall McNamee.

ODDS: Offaly 1/10, Draw 12/1, Athlone IT 6/1
VERDICT: Offaly

GROUP D
WEXFORD v CARLOW IT (Bunclody 7.30)

THE Carlow students were out of their depth against Kildare but will hope to be more competitive against Wexford - who have already lost to one college outfit, DIT. History won't repeat itself.

ODDS: Wexford 1/2. Draw 15/2, Carlow IT 15/8
VERDICT: Wexford

KILDARE v DIT (Athy 7.30)

KIERAN McGEENEY has again named a surprisingly experienced side, but one of his rookies (Cathal McNally) has another chance to shine after impressing up front last Sunday.

ODDS: Kildare 4/9, Draw 15/2, DIT 2/1
VERDICT: Kildare