Preview: This weekend’s provincial football championship action:

Leinster SFC Quarter-Finals

Saturday 13th April
Laois v Offaly in Laois Hire O’Moore Park at 7pm

This should be a lively encounter in Portlaoise.

Laois’ Allianz Football League Division Four winning campaign under Justin McNulty ensures momentum has been generated.

Killian Roche, Mark Barry, and Paul Kingston occupied central roles for Laois in the league.

The final win over Leitrim at Croke Park proved to be another satisfactory win for Laois, who now want to make a championship impact.

In Division Three Offaly survived, winning two, drawing one, and losing four games.

Dylan Hyland demonstrated his skill and scoring ability, while Anton Sullivan remains an influential figure for the Faithful.

Laois: Killian Roche; Ben Dempsey, Séamus Lacey, James Kelly; Eoin Buggie, Mark Timmons, Brian Byrne; Kieran Lillis, Damon Larkin; Kevin Swayne, Eoin Lowry, Shaun Fitzpatrick; Mark Barry, Evan O’Carroll, Paul Kingston.

Subs: Aaron Cooney, Niall Corbet, Brian Daly, Mikie Dempsey, Niall Dunne, Simon Fingleton, Conor Heffernan, Jack Lacey, Rioghan Murphy, Seán O’Flynn, Daniel O’Reilly.

Offaly: Ian Duffy; Lee Pearson, Declan Hogan, David Dempsey; Cormac Egan, Peter Cunningham, John Furlong; Eoin Carroll, Jack McEvoy; Dylan Hyland, Ruairí McNamee, Jordan Hayes; Keith O’Neill, Nathan Poland, Jack Bryant.

Subs: Mikey Cunningham, Adam Bolger, Jack O’Brien, Daire McDaid, Rory Egan, Cathal Flynn, Kevin McDermott, Diarmuid Finneran, Morgan Tynan, Cian Farrell, Cathal Donoghue.

Sunday 14th April

Kildare v Wicklow in Laois Hire O’Moore Park at 1.45pm, GAAGO

A morale boosting win over Westmeath, ensures Wicklow head for Portlaoise armed with hope and confidence.

Oisín McConville’s charges, inspired by Dean Healy, delivered a gritty display to surprise the midlanders’.

Kildare and Wicklow both endured demanding league campaigns, culminating in relegation from Division Two and Three, respectively.

Glen Ryan will be hoping that Kildare can respond with Kevin Feely continuing to contribute splendid performances for the Lilywhites.

There is plenty of craft in the Kildare panel with Eoin Doyle and Darragh Kirwan capable footballers.

Wicklow, though, will also feel that they can prevail, especially if John Paul Nolan and Kevin Quinn are supplied with quality possession.

Kildare: Mark Donnellan; Ryan Burke, Shea Ryan, Mick O’Grady; Jack Sargent, Eoin Doyle, Paddy McDermott; Aaron Masterson, Kevin Flynn; Alex Beirne, Niall Kelly, Shane Farrell; Kevin Feely, Darragh Kirwan, Daniel Flynn.

Subs: Didier Cordonnier, Tony Archibold, Brian Byrne, Ryan Houlihan, Barry Kelly, Luke Killian, Sam McCormack, Aaron O’Neill, Harry O’Neill, Shane O’Sullivan, Paddy Woodgate.

Wicklow: Shane Doyle; Tom Moran, Malachy Stone, Eoin Murtagh; Matt Nolan, Patrick O’Keane, Gavin Fogarty; Dean Healy, Craig Maguire; Darragh Fee, Christopher O’Brien, Jack Kirwan; Jonathan Carlin, Kevin Quinn, John Paul Nolan.

Subs: Cathal Fitzgerald, Brian Nesbitt, Cillian McDonald, Gearoid Murphy, Joe Prendergast, Oisín McGraynor, Adam Arslan, Jacques McCall, Jack Treacy, Liam O’Neill, Martin Cullen.

Louth v Wexford in Laois Hire O’Moore Park at 4pm, GAAGO

Buoyed up by an emphatic win over Carlow, John Hegarty’s improving Wexford outfit will be intent on delivering a similarly vibrant display.

Mark Rossiter struck a couple of goals in a convincing success over Carlow last weekend.

Unfortunate to miss out on promotion from Division Four of the Allianz Football League, Hegarty remains adamant that Wexford, with Glen Malone effective, can develop further.

In the league, with Ryan Burns prominent, Louth retained Division Two status.

Ger Brennan, the Louth manager, will have been satisfied with the level of performance as three wins were posted. Louth were unlucky in some of their four losses also.

Sam Mulroy and Conor Grimes are key performers for Louth.

Louth: Niall McDonnell; Donal McKenny, Dermot Campbell, Peter Lynch; Conall McKeever, Anthony Williams, Leonard Grey; Tommy Durnin, Ciarán Murphy; Tom Jackson, Ciarán Keenan, Conor Grimes; Ryan Burns, Sam Mulroy, Ciarán Downey.

Subs: Craig Lynch, Chris O’Neill, Peter McStravick, Liam Jackson, Dan Corcoran, Bevan Duffy, Niall Sharkey, Wayne Campbell, Jay Hughes, Seán Marry, Paul Mathews.

Wexford: Rory Tubritt; Eoin Porter, Gavin Sheehan, Darragh Lyons; Kevin O’Grady, Dylan Furlong, Glen Malone; Liam Coleman, Niall Hughes; Páraic Hughes, Eoghan Nolan, Mark Rossiter; Graeme Cullen, Seán Nolan, Conor Kinsella.

Subs: William Foley, Graham Staples, Liam O’Connor, Conor Carty, Shane Doyle, Cathal Walsh, Jonathan Bealin, Richie Waters, Tom Byrne, Shane Pettit, Ben Brosnan.

Dublin v Meath in Croke Park at 4.30pm, RTE

All-Ireland champions Dublin face Meath at GAA headquarters on Sunday.

Meath, inspired by Eoghan Frayne and James Conlon, enjoyed a high scoring win over Longford last weekend.

Without a Championship win over Dublin since 2010, Meath will be eager to summon a defiant display at the Jones Road venue.

Colm O’Rourke guided Meath to Tailteann Cup glory in 2023 with Mathew Costello occupying a leading role for the Royals.

Dublin, who have beaten Meath in their last eight Championship clashes, lost the Allianz Football League Division One Final to Derry on penalties.

During the league campaign Eoin Murchan, Brian Howard, and Con O’Callaghan made an impact, while some young players also gained valuable experience.

Dublin: Evan Comerford; Seán MacMahon, Cian Murphy, Eoin Murchan; Brian Howard, John Small, Seán Bugler; Tom Lahiff, Ciarán Kilkenny; Ross McGarry, Killian McGinnis, Niall Scully; Paddy Small, Con O’Callaghan, Colm Basquel.

Subs: Stephen Cluxton, Michael Fitzsimons, Daire Newcombe, Theo Clancy, Peadar Ó Cofaigh Byrne, James McCarthy, Cormac Costello, Lorcan O’Dell, Paul Mannion, Cian O’Connor, Killian O’Gara.

Meath: Seán Brennan; Donal Keogan, Adam O’Neill, Harry O’Higgins; Ciarán Caulfield, Ross Ryan, Seán Coffey; Ronan Jones, Daithí McGowan; Shane Walsh, Eoghan Frayne, Cathal Hickey; Jordan Morris, Mathew Costello, James Conlon.

Subs: Billy Hogan, Cian McBride, Darragh Campion, Jack O’Connor, Ronan Ryan, Michael Murphy, Keith Curtis, Aaron Lynch, Ruairí Kinsella, Jason Scully, Seán Rafferty.

Down senior football team manager Conor Laverty. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Down senior football team manager Conor Laverty. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Ulster SFC Quarter-Finals

Saturday 13th April

Down v Antrim in Páirc Esler at 6pm, BBC

Without an Ulster SFC win in a decade, Antrim will be hoping to cause a surprise against neighbours Down at Páirc Esler.

Conor Laverty’s developing team secured promotion from Division Three of the Allianz Football League before losing to Westmeath in the decider.

That was a little pre Championship setback, but the form of Ceilum Doherty, Odhran Murdock, Liam Kerr, and Pat Havern augurs well.

Andy McEntee, though, is a shrewd manager illustrated by Antrim’s impressive Tailteann Cup campaign last year.

Leitrim, Wexford, Fermanagh, and Carlow were all beaten by Antrim, who lost to Meath at the penultimate stage.

Dominic McEnhill and Ruairí McCann, a potent goalscoring threat, enjoyed productive moments in the league for Antrim.

Down: John O’Hare; Peter Fegan, Ryan McEvoy, Ceilum Doherty; Miceal Rooney, Pierce Laverty, Daniel Guinness; Jonny Flynn, Odhran Murdock; Shane Annett, Liam Kerr, Ryan Johnston; Oisín Savage, Pat Havern, Danny Magill.

Subs: Kevin Anderson, Ryan Magill, Finn McElroy, James Guinness, Shealan Johnston, Conor McCrickard, Barry O’Hagan, Rory Mason, Gareth McKibben, Eamonn Brown, John McGovern.

Antrim: Michael Byrne; Ronan Boyle, Eunan Walsh, Kavan Keenan; Declan Lynch, Joseph Finnegan, Dermot McAleese; Cathal Hynds, Marc Jordan; Conor Hand, Patrick McBride, Eoin Hynds; Ryan McQuillan, Ruairí McCann, Dominic McEnhill.

Subs: Luke Mulholland, Benen Kelly, Colm McLarnon, Cormac McGettigan, Daniel McNicholl, Eoghan McCabe, James McDonnell, Niall Burns, Patrick McAleer, Pat Shivers, Liam McLarnon.

Sunday 14th April

Fermanagh v Armagh in Brewster Park at 2pm, BBC

Significant optimism is attached to Armagh, who will afford Fermanagh the utmost respect.

Despite losing the Allianz Football League Division Two Final to Donegal, Armagh attained promotion with the minimum of fuss.

During the league campaign in round three, Armagh also overcame Fermanagh, who were subsequently relegated.

Kieran McGeeney’s panel includes a nice blend of emerging and established players with Oisín Conaty, Stefan Campbell, and Andrew Murnin in excellent form in the league.

Fermanagh manager Kieran Donnelly will be hoping to replicate the dynamism shown against Cavan in their last Division Two match.

Garvan Jones clipped 1-8 in that game for Fermanagh, the victory wasn’t sufficient to retain Division Two status, but the game offered a reminder of Fermanagh’s durability.

Fermanagh: Ross Bogue; Lee Cullen, Che Cullen, Oisín Smyth; Declan McCusker, Shane McGullion, Cian McManus; Ronan McCaffrey, Joe McDade; Conor McGee, Conor McShea, Fionan O’Brien; Ultan Kelm, Garvan Jones, Seán Cassidy.

Subs: Ethan McCaffrey, Josh Largo Ellis, Brandon Horan, Conor Love, Jonathan Cassidy, Darragh McGurn, Oisín Murphy, Tiarnan Bogue, Diarmuid King, James McMahon, Callum Jones.

Armagh: Blaine Hughes; Paddy Burns, Aaron McKay, Peter McGrane; Joe McElroy, Ciarán Mackin, Aidan Forker; Rian O’Neill, Ben Crealey; Stefan Campbell, Rory Grugan, Conor Turbitt; Oisín Conaty, Andrew Murnin, Jarly Óg Burns.

Subs: Shea Magill, Barry McCambridge, Connaire Mackin, Tiernan Kelly, Oisín O’Neill, Ross McQuillan, Cian McConville, Aidan Nugent, Darragh McMullan, Jason Duffy, Jemar Hall.