Dublin and Louth are two of eight Leinster sides battling it out this weekend

Leinster Championship - Dublin v Louth
Dublin head for Portlaoise once again for their opening Leinster Fixture

It has come around again. This weekend sees the Quarter Finals of the Leinster Senior Football Championship get underway. And in what could be a hugely historic year for Dublin Football, they get their campaign off the ground tomorrow evening in Portlaoise against Louth. And it will be the third year in succession that Dublin have played their Leinster Quarter Final tie in the Portlaoise venue.

As part of a double header in O’Moore Park Dublin and Louth will follow the opening Quarter Final between Carlow and Meath. That game throws in at 5:00pm with Dublin’s game starting at 7:00pm. Then on Sunday O’Connor Park in Tullamore will host the second double header of Leinster action with Laois and Westmeath squaring off against Laois at 2:00pm with Longford and Kildare bringing the action to a close at 4:00pm.

For Dublin, the stage is set. The nerves of every supporter have probably set in. Not at the prospect of tomorrow’s game, but the phenomenal idea that at the end of the Summer Dublin could be crowned All Ireland Champions for the fifth consecutive year. And that’s of absolutely no disrespect to Louth

Louth not there to make up the numbers

Louth manager Wayne Kierans has publicly stated that his side are looking forward to the challenge that Dublin pose. He believes that the smaller counties relish the idea of taking on the more successful teams in the provincial competition.

“I would like to see every county have a shot at a Leinster title, regardless of how realistic people think that is, and always have a chance to play the big guns,” Kierans told RTÉ Sport at the Leinster Championship launch.

“After that, when you go into the qualifier stage, it might be a chance to look at it, and reform it. It’s up to us to be as competitive as possible against the big guns, so don’t take that chance away from us.”

After missing promotion from Division 3 in this year’s Allianz National Football League, Louth battled back to beat Wexford in a preliminary qualifier for the Leinster Knockouts.

Who will line out for Dublin tomorrow?

For a long time now the Leinster Championship presented Jim Gavin the opportunity to give some fringe players the chance to stake their claim on a place in the side ahead of the All Ireland competition. Cormac Costello impressed the entire country during Dublin’s league campaign and is surely knocking on the door for a slot in the starting line up.

Darren Gavin also stepped up in the Spring and it will be interesting to see if that transfers to a championship slot in midfield. There’s also the return of Rory O’Carroll, who won’t have rejoined the panel to make up the numbers by any stretch. O’Carroll is as competitive as they come, and it would come as no surprise if his name is dropped in the impeding starting 15 announcement for tomorrow’s fixture.

However Jim Gavin has reiterated that landing a slot in the starting 15, or indeed the panel, is not a given.

“We don’t hand slots out lightly,” he told RTÉ. “We watched Rory play in the club championships, and so far, so good.”

Last Five Championship Meetings Between Dublin and Louth

2012: Dublin 2-22 Louth 0-12 (Leinster Quarter Final)
2010: Dublin 2-14 Louth 0-13 (Round 4 Qualifier)
2008: Dublin 1-22 Louth 0-12 (Leinster Quarter Final)
2003: Dublin 1-19 Louth 0-9 (Leinster Quarter Final)
1999: Dublin 2-15 Louth 0-14 (Leinster Quarter Final)