Leinster Senior Football Championship Quarter-Finals
Saturday, 3rd June 2017
O’Moore Park, Portlaoise: Carlow v Dublin, 7pm
Sunday, 4th June 2017
O’Connor Park, Tullamore: Laois v Kildare, 3pm
Parnell Park, Dublin: Louth v Meath, 3pm
Carlow’s celebrations following the final whistle against Wexford epitomised all that is best about the GAA summer.
Players and supporters rejoiced on the pitch as the county won a first round tie in the province for the first time since 2011. Later that night, team manager Turlough O’Brien was enjoy a guest slot on The Sunday Game and quipped that Dublin would win this year’s All-Ireland, “through the back door”.
Dublin may have expected to be heading to the sunny south-east this Saturday evening, but instead O’Moore Park is the venue for this novel last-eight tie.
The All-Ireland champions hit the road for the second summer in a row, following last year’s victory over Laois at Nowlan Park. Jim Gavin’s side are expected to ease through this contest, as they bid to secure a record-breaking seventh Leinster SFC title in a row.
Although their long unbeaten run ended in the Allianz League final against Kerry, Dublin still deserve their ranking as the top side in the country.
Carlow will approach this match enthusiastically and with a 2-17 to 2-13 victory over Wexford already under their belts, should have a huge support at the Laois venue.
Laois were also overjoyed to achieve a big first round win after their demotion to Division 4 of the league. Peter Creedon’s side defeated Longford 4-15 to 0-16 in the first round, with the goals coming from Paul Kingston (2), Donie Kingston and Alan Farrell.
They need to maintain that form against a Kildare side buoyed by their promotion to Division 1. The Lilywhites will be looking for a place in the provincial final, at least, but these counties finished all-square at O’Connor Park only two years ago, before Kildare advanced after a replay.
The other quarter-final this weekend is between Meath and Louth, who return to Parnell Park for the second year in a row. Meath won that game by a few points, but both counties have undoubtedly continued on an upward curve since then. The Royal County almost gained promotion from Division 2, while Louth moved up from Division 3 and have the benefit of a first round victory over Wicklow by 1-19 to 1-14 last Sunday week.