WITH opening round defeats for county champions Athy, along with fancied sides such as Sarsfields and St Laurence’s this weekend’s round two games in the MDY SFC certainly has some vitally important and interesting games down for decision, writes Tommy Callaghan.
And while the three opening set backs for those named sides would seen, on paper at least, to have gotten the rub of the green in the round two draw, nevertheless, a slip up by any of them could end up in disaster and an early exit from this season’s senior fare.
Confey v Suncroft
Friday, Naas, 7pm
The weekend’s eight match SFC programme gets under way on Friday evening at Naas when Confey and Suncroft go in to battle.
A win for both of these sides is vital as they each suffered defeats in their opening rounds, Suncroft going under to Celbridge (2-11 to 0-12) while Confey lost by a point (3-8 to 3-7) to Ballymore Eustace.
The Croft went into their game as big underdogs but as usual put up a fighting display before going down by five points while Confey looked dead and buried when trailing BME by all of eleven points with eleven minutes remaining.
It is to their credit that they got that lead down to the minimum and it was the Wicklow border side who were the relieved team when referee Paddy Moore blew for full time.
Neither of these sides are expected to be at the business side of the championship but nevertheless this has the potential to be a close and exciting game with Confey just about getting the nod.
Match odds: Confey 5/6 Suncroft 5/6; draw 7/1.
Outright odds: Confey 50/1 Suncroft 66/1.
Athy v Allenwood
Saturday, Hawkfield, 4.45pm
County champions, Athy are in action on Saturday in Hawkfield and have Allenwood for opposition and while, on paper at least, Athy will be strongly fancied to take the points, Allenwood have a reputation for pushing ‘hot’ sides all the way to the wire and that is the way this one could go also.
Athy have had a few of their star men playing throughout the summer in the US but are expected back in time for the this, nevertheless it will be interesting to see how they perform.
Allenwood, who struggled in the SFL but were very satisfied to have retained their Division 1 status, will have their main man, Johnny Doyle, as usual pulling the strings and while it is difficult to see anything other than an Athy win it would not be the first time the Blues upset the apple cart.
Match odds: Athy 1/5 Allenwood 7/2; draw 8/1.
Outright odds: Athy 4/1; Allenwood 40/1.
Round Towers v St. Laurence’s
Saturday, St Conleth’s, 6.30pm
The Larries were out-gunned in their opening game when Carbury defeated them 0-13 to 0-10 and they cannot afford another set back in this round but they should be more than capable of defeating a struggling Towers side who themselves lost out to Clane (0-15 to 2-6) in their opening game.
St Laurence’s, as usual, look a more than capable side on paper and if they can get all their guns blazing at once will be again a formidable team in this year’s championship.
Towers have struggled throughout the senior league and were relegated to Division 2 finishing bottom of the pile with just three wins. But like many other sides the Kildare town team will always put in a strong championship performance and if the Larries were to drop their guard there are no better sides around than Towers to take advantage. But at the end of the day the south Kildare team get a confident nod to get the train back on track.
Prediction: St Laurence’s.
Match odds: St Laurence’s 1/5 Round Towers 7/2; draw 8/1.
Outright odds: St Laurence’s 9/1; Round Towers 50/1.
Celbridge v Ballymore Eustace
Sunday, St Conleth’s, 12.15pm
It is an early start for the first of the five SFC games on Sunday when Celbridge and Ballymore Eustace go into battle 15 minutes after midday at headquarters.
Beaten in the Leinster Leader Cup final by Sarsfields recently, Celbridge, nevertheless gave a very good account of themselves under new boss Paul Earley, and while they went down by six points in the end were level with just five minutes remaining.
Celbridge opened their SFC with a win over Suncroft and remain one of the fancied sides to go all the way.
Ballymore Eustace also won their opener, albeit by a point against a fast finishing Confey side. They (BME) had a poor league campaign avoiding relegation by just a single point.
The boys from the north of the county will be fancied big time to add to their opening day win and it is difficult to see any other result at this stage.
Match odds: Celbridge 1/6 Ballymore Eustace 4/1 draw 8/1.
Outright odds: Celbridge 6/1 Ballymore Eustace 40/1.
Sarsfields v St. Kevin’s
Sunday, St Conleth’s, 2pm
2012 Leinster Leader Cup champions, Sarsfields, attempt to get their SFC campaign back on an even keel on Sunday when they take on St Kevin’s in Newbridge at 2 pm.
John Crofton’s side were shocked in the opening round when sensationally going under to Mark Millham’s Naas and so little room for any more leakage which in all fairness there should not be.
Having said that Kevin’s are certainly enjoying a great season gaining promotion to the top division of the league and securing the services of one Seanie Johnston.
Kevin’s came out of the wrong side of a tight opening game against Leixlip but did put up a decent display going under 1-10 to 0-9.
Many folk believe that Sarsfields have the capability of going all the way this term and at odds of 7/2 look to be one of the value bets at this stage and while the Seanie Johnston involvement should ensure added interest it is difficult to see anything other than a win for Sarsfields on this occasion.
Match odds: Sarsfields 1/7 St Kevin’s 4/1; draw 8/1.
Outright odds: Sarsfields 7/2, St Kevin’s 66/1.
Leixlip v Naas
Sunday, Clane 2pm
Very interesting battle in Clane with this one in which Naas, winners over Sarsfields in the opener, take on Leixlip who had four points to spare over St Kevin’s in their round one clash.
A win for either side would be a huge boost with a quarter final spot almost guaranteed for who ever prevails.
Not an easy one to predict by any stretch of the imagination, both will have gained confidence from their opening round wins. Leixlip had a rather uneventful league run finishing fourth from bottom while Naas, who hit a five game losing sequence after their win over Sarsfields, nevertheless came good to avoid any serious relegation worries.
This one has the potential to go to the wire but Naas get the hesitant nod to march on despite their poor mid-season form.
Match odds: Naas 2/5 Leixlip 2/1 draw 8/1.
Outright odds: Naas 8/1 Leixlip 25/1.
Maynooth v Carbury
Sunday, Johnstownbridge 6pm
Carbury will be cock-a-hoop following their impressive win over the Larries in the opening round and will be confident of adding Maynooth to their hit list come Sunday. However, Maynooth under their astute boss, Declan Cryan, have been making big strides, had a very impressive league run, finishing fourth and showing great determination when defeating Allenwood in their opening SFC game coming from ten points down after eight minutes to win by 2-14 to 2-8.
If there is to be a big shock this weekend this has the potential to be it but having said that Carbury look to have enough in hand to survive but only if they perform to the top of their game.
Match odds: Carbury 1/3 Maynooth 3/1; draw 8/1.
Outright odds: Carbury 10/1 Maynooth 25/1.
Clane v Moorefield
Sunday, St Conleth’s 6pm
Despite surrendering their Leader Cup to rivals Sarsfields, Moorefield remain the layers favs at 2/1 to go all the way this year but again, not for the first time, these skinny prices might have more to do with history than present form.
Nevertheless the Moores will be there or there abouts again and they showed in their opening game against champions, Athy, they are more than capable of holding their own still against the best of them.
Clane had a comfortable win over Towers in their opening game (0-15 to 2-6) with the late concession of two goals slightly dulling an otherwise very impressive performance.
This one could be a lot closer than many would expect and while the vote goes to Moorefield, Jack Sheedy’s side will have to be firing on all cylinders to repel what will undoubtedly be a strong challenge from the Clane boys.
Match odds: Moorefield 1/3 Clane 9/4; drawn 8/1.
Outright odds: Moorefield 2/1; Clane 14/1.