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How Your County Stands Ahead Of Championship - Leinster Counties Not Called Dublin

How Your County Stands Ahead Of Championship - Leinster Counties Not Called Dublin
By Conor Neville

Eamonn Sweeney referenced George Orwell following Donegal's 2014 win over the Dubs, while scoffing at the dystopian view of the future of Gaelic football which, according to the doom-mongers, would consist of 'a Dublin boot stamping on a culchie face forever'.

The All-Ireland championship isn't at that stage yet. But the Leinster championship arrived at that point a long time ago.

Seeing as we already know who'll win the Leinster championship this year, it might to time to assess the most bedraggled, demoralised and out-of-sorts cluster of teams in the land.

The Leinster counties that are not called Dublin.

Meath 

A distressing 2015 in which they managed to achieve what no other Meath team had done and lost to Westmeath in the championship.

In a treacherously awkward Division 2, stuffed with difficult Northern sides, they escaped the drop on the last day. The manner of their escape won't have inspired too much confidence for the summer.

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The manner of their escape won't have inspired too much confidence for the summer. Bottom-placed Laois led handsomely early on

Leinster success is almost out of the question. They need to prime themselves for a decent qualifier run. A quarter-final spot would be a good success.

Graham Reilly still their most consistent performer.

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Prediction: Semi-final loss to Dublin

Last 12 in the qualifiers

Kildare

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As anticipated, they gained promotion from Division 3, albeit not without a wobble. The one-point defeat at home to Sligo is a reminder of their current limitations.

The intriguing managerial appointment of Cian O'Neill, Sports Science lecturer in CIT and former member of Eamonn Fitzmaurice's backroom team, is a progressive move.

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With the draw the way it is, they are favourites to reach the Leinster Final.

Prediction: Leinster Final loss to Dublin

Last 12 in the qualifiers

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Westmeath

Pulled off something fairly special this spring by managing to get relegated for a third successive season. They have fallen from Division 1 to Division 4 in three years.

It could point to the perils of arriving in a Division which is just far too strong. Breaking their gut to join the elite and then finding the going so tough once there may have broken something in Westmeath. Destroyed their appetite for League football altogether. What's the point etc?

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Still, in 2015, Westmeath were poster children for the irrelevance of the League. They may yet be so again this year. It's difficult to see how they can build on last year's exploits.

If they do pitch up in the last 12 again this season, they might want to put in a better showing than last year's disinterested effort against Fermanagh.

Home advantage should give them a slight edge in the quarter-final against the winners of Offaly/Longford.

Prediction: Leinster semi-final loss to Kildare

3rd round qualifier exit

Laois

Laois exited the 2015 championship as early as it was possible to exit the championship. Gone before 'Body & Soul' had come to an end.

There is an air of ennui and boredom surrounding the current Laois set-up. Colm Parkinson, who has past issues with Mick Lillis's management style, has made plain his disdain for the current managerial team. Following Lillis's appointment, he

They were favourites for relegation early doors. On the last day, there was the slightest chance of survival. This was snuffed out by Evan O'Carroll's red card and Meath's late rally.

It has been almost assumed that they will beat Wicklow in O'Moore Park in the First Round. It has likewise been assumed that they will be beaten by Dubs in the neutral venue of Nowlan Park in the subsequent game.

It's hard to believe they have the stomach or the enthusiasm to make another raid on the quarter-final, a la 2012.

Prediction: Leinster quarter-final loss to Dublin

2nd round qualifier exit

Longford

Last year, they won three championship matches for the first time since 2006, but this was achievement was rather overshadowed by two high-profile maulings, one of which was screened live on TV.

Things looked impossibly gloomy at the outset with Denis Connerton informing the Star that no fewer 44% of the players he has asked to join the panel had, for a variety of reasons, declined the offer.

Still, they enjoyed a decent League, beating Sligo, Tipperary and relegating neighbours Westmeath on the final day (Ye can keep yere four TDs, etc).

Will likely enter the first round of the Leinster championship in O'Connor Park as slight underdogs. They've won at least one championship every years since 2009.

Prediction: Leinster First round loss to Offaly

2nd round qualifier exit

Offaly

Definite signs of improvement. Pat Flanagan inherited a team in the midst of a debilitating losing streak. Secured promotion from Division 4 and carried them close to promotion this year.

Last year's championship was a touch frustrating, with the main regret centring around the loss to Longford in Tullamore (even if that did spare them an unmerciful beating off the Dubs).

Will fancy their chances in the first round.

Prediction: Leinster quarter-final loss to Westmeath

2nd round qualifier exit

Wexford

Failed to escape Division 4 and unlikely to triumph against Kildare in the Leinster quarter-final on 21 May. Stunned Down last year in the qualifiers but were soundly beaten by Derry in the subsequent round. Have drifted back into the wilderness since the heady days of the late noughties.

Prediction: Leinster quarter-final loss to Kildare

2nd round qualifier exit

Louth

Advanced from Division 4 and face into a League final against Antrim. Will surely beat Carlow in the opening round and might even give Meath a rattle in the quarter-final.

Last year's championship was a dismal affair. A victory over Leitrim in an irrelevant qualifier in Drogheda was their only victory. The season ended in an ignominious hammering against Tipp.

Prediction: Leinster quarter-final loss to Meath

2nd round qualifier exit

Carlow

Plumbed new depths of irrelevance in last year's championship, shipping heavy beatings against both Laois and Longford.

Their League form was okay. They easily dispatched Leitrim, winning that fixture for the first time in four years. Manager Turlough O'Brien has grumbled about the lack of support. however.

Prediction: Leinster first round loss to Louth

1st round qualifier exit

Wicklow

Johnny Magee is a vocal critic of the treatment of the (so-called) weaker counties, railing against both the resurrection of the Tommy Murphy Cup.

The blithe assumption that 2016 will be the year when the Dubs leave Croker will give them so pre-match ammunition ahead of Laois match.

Were a troublesome adversary in the qualifiers during the Dwyer era. Hasn't been the case in the past three years.

Prediction: Leinster first round loss to Laois

1st round qualifier exit

Read more: How Is Your County Shaping Up Ahead Of This Year's Championship? - Connacht

 

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