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Re/Max Leinster League - Week 7

Division 3

With the League having reached it's half way stage and with one game left before the Christmas break, Rathdrum have lived up to their billing as pre-season favourites for the title and look quite comfortable at the top and will no doubt claim one of the four automatic promotion spots. Whether they can press on and win the league is a different scenario altogether and their last two league games against local rivals Arklow away and the South Kildare side Athy at home, will no doubt be title deciders. Having beaten a dogged Gorey side at home last week, Rathdrum travel to North Kildare to play a very inconsistent Kildare side.  Kildare know they have to win this one or they can forget any thoughts of promotion this year.  It's probably beyond Kildare to win this, so Rathdrum should pick up the four points.  But the Kildare faithful will be looking for a good performance.

Hot on the heels of Rathdrum are Clane, Athy and Arklow.  Arklow should pick up all five points on offer against a very disappointing CYM side; the Terenure club just can't seem to compete at this level and perhaps would be better regrouping in the Metro junior leagues than the more competitive Leinster League.  Athy face a tough trip to Swords, a potential banana skin but the Kildare side get a tentative nod.  A more forceful nod will be given to Clane who will be disappointed if they don't pick up all five points on offer as they entertain Malahide at home.

Elsewhere, Gorey will be looking to bounce back this week and they should win on Sunday.  All going well, a top four finish isn't out of the question for the Wexford men.  In the basement battle disappointing Clondalkin should win it with something to spare.

Division 2

Newbridge continued their relentless march towards the Division Two title with a tight 6 - 3 win over Tullow last week.  Newbridge are similar to Ashbourne last season, dominating teams up front and winning tight games by low margins.  If they beat their ex-coach's Coolmine on Sunday they should start planning for Division One now.  Birch is in fantastic form for Leinster and has to start for Ireland in the Six Nations but he's not bringing this playing form to the coaching paddock as Coolmine have really disappointed many this year.  This is a potential banana skin though.  Newbridge however will be praying to Zeus the lord of the Sky and the Greek God of Rain on Sunday as they know they can bully any side in poor conditions.  Newbridge to start their planning next week.

The winners of the Enniscorthy v Roscrea match-up will be looking for a Newbridge slip-up to maintain their own push for promotion.  Roscrea have lost twice on the road already, while Enniscorthy are unbeaten at home.  I'd fully expect that status quo to remain.

Portarlington will maintain their own push for promotion in what should be a routine win at home to New Ross and Tullow should get back on track with a home victory against Edenderry. In the remaining games Kilkenny should land Longford in relegation trouble and Mullingar will be too strong at home for Railway.

Division 1

Reports emanating from Kilbogget Park are that Seapoint played their get out of jail free card with an equalising penalty in injury time against Cill Dara. The Kildare Town side have been a revelation this season and are already in the midst of their best ever season.  Doubts exist around their strength in depth, but they should enter the New Year as favourites for the title. That might not sit comfortably on their shoulders and it will interesting to see if they can pick up a bonus point on Sunday against an inconsistent Monkstown, who suffered a heavy defeat last week.  Monkstown, for their part, have won two games on their travels already and Cill Dara will underestimate them at their peril.

Meanwhile Navan entertain Wicklow.  The game plan to beat Wicklow is quite simple dominate up front and keep Shaun McCarty quiet.  Navan can do the former but the latter is harder.  McCarty is the best out-half in the league but even playing at his best won't stop Navan picking up the win but the Meathmen might struggle to pick up the bonus.

Seapoint know they face an up hill task to win the league but they will want to be heading to Navan in the New Year still challenging.  Dundalk suffered a surprise reverse last week and will be hurting.  It will be tight, but Seapoint should edge it in what will be the game of the weekend.

In what could be a very interesting game, Ashbourne entertain Tullamore, two sides that had good wins last week.  Tullamore though have the better back-line and should squeeze the win in a tight game.  In the remaining two games Portlaoise will bully Skerries into submission and the Guards are starting to gel and should pick up their second win on the trot...

by Daniel Quinn, © 2007-12-06