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Raheny look poised to make quarter-final spot

Dublin SFC: St Oliver Plunkett's v Raheny (Parnell Park, tonight, 7.30)

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Brian Howard

Brian Howard

SPORTSFILE

Brian Howard

The permutations of this one are straight-forward now, even if the method for establishing which team finishes second in group 4 of this year's Dublin SFC seems somewhat convoluted.

Tonight's protagonists, Raheny and St Oliver Plunkett's can both qualify for a quarter-final with Ballyboden St Enda's on Sunday, as can Castleknock.

If Raheny fulfil their billing as favourites and win or even draw in Parnell Park, they sail through.

Things become slightly complicated in the event that St. Oliver Plunkett's/ER pull off a surprise. In that scenario, all three teams finish on two points and scoring difference comes into play, but with the caveat that results against the group's top team, Kilmacud Crokes, are discarded.

In effect, a mini league table of the matches between the teams in question is then the deciding metric.

Which is just as well for Raheny, who went down by 21 points to Crokes in the first round.

It means that Plunkett's must win by a margin of ten points to go through.

Any victory by a lesser amount and Castleknock, idle for the past ten days, will take on the county champions in Parnell Park on Sunday.

Extraordinary

Raheny may have been many people's dark-horses in this year's championship before it started but the concession of 6-13 to Crokes in round one shot some deep holes in that theory.

Even in this most unique of Dublin championships, it would be quite extraordinary for any team to go on and mount a credible challenge having started with a 21-point defeat.

That said, they're not without their strengths as a team.

In Brian Fenton and Brian Howard, they possess surely the most dynamic midfield partnership of any club team in Ireland.

Gavin Ivory kicked eight frees against Castleknock and equally, has the balance and skill to cause havoc from play given the right ball.

And Seán McMahon has been one of the most consistent performers at this level for the past three years.

Plunkett's have been reliant on Seán Bugler - who kicked 1-4 against Kilmacud Crokes - for much of their energy up front this year, although Bernard Brogan remains a lethal poacher if Plunkett's can guarantee early delivery.

For all that, the likely scenario here is the most straight forward - Raheny win and move on to this year's Dublin SFC quarter-finals.

ODDS: Raheny 1/6, Draw 12/1, Plunkett's 4/1

VERDICT: Raheny