GAA National Football League Division 3 Final Preview

Westmeath's Kieran Martin tries to block a shot from Laois' Ross Munnelly in last year's Leinster Championship.

Éanna Atkinson looks forward to this Saturday’s National Football League Division 3 Final

As a result of the inclement weather conditions over St. Patrick’s weekend, the re-scheduled Division 3 football decider is our sole focus this weekend. 

Last weekend, Louth v Westmeath got the the go-ahead this time in Drogheda. This exciting match finished all square, meaning Westmeath progressed to set up an all-Leinster meeting with Laois at Croke Park on Saturday afternoon.

This game will be televised live on TG4.

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NFL Division 3 Final – Laois v Westmeath (Throw-in @ 4:45pm, live on TG4, on 06/04):

After another successful league campaign, Kerry native John Sugrue has guided Laois to back-to-back promotions as well as reaching last year’s Leinster Final. There is no doubt that he has this team moving in the right direction.

Last year they captured the Division 4 crown and they will be hoping to be going home with more silverware this Saturday evening.

Westmeath will also be quite satisfied at how things are going for them. Under the stewardship of the home-grown Jack Cooney, the Lake County have had a positive league campaign and their battling draw last weekend away to Louth sealed their place in Saturday’s decider. Incidentally it’s the first time in 26 years that a native Westmeath man has been in charge.

Cooney also guided them to an O’Byrne Cup title in pre-season, so a lot like their opposition this weekend, things seem to be moving in the right direction for Westmeath also.

If Laois are to come out on top they will be hoping for big performances in defence from Colm Begley and captain Stephen Attride, John O’Loughlin at midfield and Donie Kingston, Paul Cahillane and Evan O’Carroll in an impressive full forward line.

Key to Westmeath’s chances on Saturday will be how they can stifle Laois’ potent forwards. Boidu Sayeh and Kevin Maguire could both be tasked with man-marking jobs. Whilst they also have some very impressive forwards of their own. You can expect Ger Egan, Kieran Martin and the excellent John Heslin to cause most of the problems for Laois.

I feel that the Laois camp will be delighted that they had an extra week to prepare for this final, with Westmeath’s perparation’s more rushed because of last Saturday’s re-scheduled game. See highlights of Westmeath’s draw with Louth below:

When these sides met in the early rounds of the league, Westmeath came out on top by three points. However, Westmeath did have home advantage that day and I think it’s a big ask for them to do the double over Laois, a team that comprehensively beat them by ten points in last year’s Leinster Championship.

I am going to side with Laois in what you can expect to be a close contest. I have no doubt that this Westmeath side will provide a stern test, but I just feel that Laois are the more balanced outfit. They have a nice mix of youth and experience in their side and John Sugrue has them playing some good football.

For me, Laois are a decent price @ 10/11 but if you are looking for a little more value, Laois Half-Time/Full-Time @ 2/1 also has a great chance.

Verdict: Laois @ 10/11

Value Bet: HT/FT – Laois/Laois @ 2/1



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*Odds were correct at time of publishing the article