GAA Matchbox for Dec 15 and Dec 16 2018 weekend
Westmeath v Offaly
NOT surprisingly new Westmeath boss Jack Cooney has made five changes from the team that defeated Carlow as he attempts to run his eye over as many players as possible. Kieran Martin and Luke Loughlin are two of those coming in, so they should be stronger. This will be Offaly’s first outing of the year, but they will be without experienced goalkeeper Alan Mulhall as he called time on a 15-year career on Thursday.
Odds: H: 10/11 D: 7/1 A: 11/10
Kildare v Carlow
WE can expect a youthful Kildare in January given that eight members of their All-Ireland U20 winning team are included in Cian O’Neill’s O’Byrne Cup panel. Teammates Aaron O’Neill, Jimmy Hyland and Mark Dempsey had already been involved. Carlow went down by four points to Westmeath last weekend while they also lost key forward Paul Broderick to injury and he is unlikely to feature here.
Odds: H: 1/10 D: 14/1 A: 11/2
Wexford v Laois
LAOIS suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of Meath last weekend and since then Darren Strong, who played against the Royals, has announced his retirement. That’s one enforced change for manager John Sugrue and he has made another 11 too. Denis Booth, Eoin Lowry and Martin Scully are the only players who remain from the 3-11 to 0-6 defeat. Wexford started with a comfortable win over Louth and manager Paul McLoughlin has chosen to make just three changes to his side.
Odds: H: 7/4 D: 7/1 A: 4/7
Wicklow v Louth
New Louth manager Wayne Kierans would not have been pleased with his side’s first outing under his management as they lost to Wexford by seven points – although the game was disrupted by confusion over the trialling rules with Louth replacing a black-carded player with a substitute before he was ushered off. Wicklow went down to a point to Longford and manager John Evans blasted the hand-pass rule afterwards.
Odds: H: 6/5 D: 7/1 A: 5/6
Meath v Longford
ROBBIE Smyth’s late point helped Longford to an opening-round win over Wicklow but they should face a much tougher challenge here. They, of course, will be without their Mullinalaghta contingent following their famous Leinster final win last weekend. Meath hammered Laois last weekend with Daniel Quinn, Thomas O’Reilly and Ronan Ryan finding the net. It will be tougher here but the Royals should make it two wins from two.
Odds: H: 4/11 D 8/1: A: 5/2
Fermanagh v Ulster University
FERMANAGH will attempt to blow the winter cobwebs off when they welcome a talented Ulster University side to Derrygonnelly this afternoon. Ryan McCluskey, Pat Cadden and Eamon Maguire have all retired from last season while Rory Gallagher is sure to give a host of new faces a run out. Paul Rouse’s Ulster University side have been in league action in recent weeks but they have lost a number of players who will be competing with their counties in January.
Odds: H: 4/6 D: 7/1 A: 6/4
Wicklow v Antrim
AFTER a bye in round one, Antrim’s Kehoe Cup campaign begins tomorrow with a game against Wicklow at the GAA’s Centre of Excellence.
This will be the first solo expedition for new manager Neal Peden, who has been acting as part of a joint management team in recent seasons.
Gary O’Kane, also previously involved, will be a selector alongside Karl McKeegan and Jim Close. Anthony Daly will act in an advisory role.
The Saffrons played in the Walsh Cup last year but the reduction from 11 teams to seven leaves them in the second-tier competition this time around.
Peden, of course, will be without his Cushendall and St Gall’s contingent while Joe Maskey will also be unavailable as he concentrates on football duties with St Enda’s.
Wicklow are in this fixture courtesy of a heavy defeat to Westmeath last week.
They went down 2-22 to 1-7 having trailed by just five points at the break following Enda Donohoe’s goal.
The winner advances to the semi-final while the loser will have another shot at the last four in January.
Dublin v Offaly
(Parnell Park, 2pm)
DUBLIN’S pursuit of a semi-final place will really gather pace if they can defeat Offaly at Parnell Park tomorrow.
In his first game in charge, Mattie Kenny guided them to a 2-21 to 1-16 win over Carlow with Eamonn Dillon and Fintan McGibb grabbing their goals. John Hetherton top-scored with 10 points.
Offaly lost out to Laois by a goal last weekend and with just one semi-final spot up for grabs in the group, their knock-out chances could end today.
Odds: H: 1/7 D: 14/1 A: 9/2
Laois v Carlow
(O’Moore Park, 2pm)
LAOIS manager Eddie Brennan had a good start to his tenure as the O’Moore men defeated Offaly in their Walsh Cup opener last week, but they have suffered a blow since.
Ross King, their captain over the last two seasons, informed Brennan that he will not be involved this season robbing the Kilkenny legend of one of his most talented players.
Carlow had an overreliance on Martin Kavanagh for their scores in last week’s eight-point loss to Dublin.
He registered a dozen points in all, with the rest of the team contributing just 1-4 between them – Ted Joyce with their goal.
Odds: H: 1/2 D: 9/1 A: 7/4
Armagh v St Mary’s
ARMAGH manager Kieran McGeeney is set to play an experimental side as they begin their 2019 season at home to St Mary’s.
The fact that he has requested that Jarlath Og Burns plays for his county rather than his university suggests that the Silverbridge midfielder should get his chance to shine.
Jamie Clarke is not fit to play while St Mary’s are missing his Crossmaglen clubmate Oisin O’Neill for the same reason.
Odds: H: 1/8 D: 14/1 A: 5/1
Sean Cox fundraiser
Meath v Dublin
(Páirc Tailteann, 1.30pm)
OLD rivals Meath and Dublin are set to clash in Navan tomorrow to raise funds for Sean Cox, who was attacked prior to Liverpool’s Champions League clash with Roma last April.
Since then the Sean Cox Fund has been set up to raise fund to aid his recovery at the National Rehabilitation Centre in Dun Laoghaire.
Seamus Coleman and Jurgen Klopp are among the huge numbers who've made donations to a Gofundme fundraising page which has raised nearly €537k to date.
Organisers are hoping to raise €100,000 from the game with some of Ireland’s best-known players set to entertain fans from across the country.
Although a former St Peter’s, Dunboyne chairman, Sean is actually an avid Dublin fan so it’s fitting that these two Leinster sides have together for the game.
Tickets are priced at €20 for adults and €5 for children. They can be purchased on supportsean.com or tickets.ie.